All posts by tex libris

A Night with Gioconda Belli

Renowned Nicaraguan writer and political figure, Gioconda Belli, spoke to a captivated crowd of over 120 attendees at a March 20 event hosted by the Benson Latin American Collection. The occasion served not only as a platform for Belli to share her remarkable journey but also to celebrate the acquisition of her archive by the Benson Latin American Collection.

Born in Managua, Belli grew up amidst the political upheaval of the Somoza dictatorship. Educated both in Nicaragua and abroad, she studied in Europe and the United States before initially pursuing a career in advertising, later shifting her focus to revolutionary politics.

In 1970, Belli joined the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), a leftist guerrilla organization opposing the Somoza regime, where she served as a clandestine courier, transported weapons, and travelled around Europe and Latin America obtaining resources and raising awareness of the Sandinista struggle.

Belli’s literary works artfully merge fiction and autobiography, drawing from her experiences as a revolutionary and a woman. Themes of love, desire, politics, and social change permeate her writing, notably exemplified in her renowned novel “The Inhabited Woman” (La mujer habitada, 1988).

Belli’s talk at the Benson delved into her experiences as a Sandinista and how these pivotal moments, intertwined with her personal life, have shaped her identity as a writer. The event provided Belli an opportunity to reflect on the preservation of her legacy at the Benson, and the importance of maintaining a historical accounting.

Attendees were treated to a recital of her poetry during her talk, and her compelling narrative resonated deeply with the audience, sparking thoughtful questions during the Q&A session that followed with director of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) Adela Pineda.

Despite being exiled by the government of Daniel Ortega in 2022, Belli remains actively engaged in social and political advocacy, championing women’s rights and democratic reforms in Nicaragua and beyond. Continuously writing and participating in public discourse, she uses her platform to amplify marginalized voices and advocate for social justice.

The event not only served as a tribute to Gioconda Belli’s contributions to literature and politics but also highlighted the importance of preserving her legacy through the acquisition of her archive by the Benson Latin American Collection.

Read an interview with Gioconda Belli by Benson Director Melissa Guy, which appeared in a recent edition of Portal.

Women’s History Month, Chicana Feminism

Women’s History Month is an opportune time to reflect on the multifaceted contributions of women, especially those from diverse cultural backgrounds. In recognition, we turn our attention to the Chicana community and the rich resources available at the University of Texas Libraries – and especially the Benson Latin American Collection – that celebrate and document their stories.

At the heart of Chicana history lies a narrative of resilience and resistance. From the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 70s to contemporary social justice initiatives, Chicana women have been instrumental in advocating for change. The Libraries’ collections include seminal works and primary sources that shed light on Chicana activism, identity formation, and community organizing. Researchers and enthusiasts alike can access documents, oral histories, and archival materials that capture the spirit of Chicana activism across different eras.

The Libraries boast a rich assortment of Chicana literature, from classic works by luminaries such as Gloria Anzaldúa and Sandra Cisneros to contemporary voices pushing boundaries and redefining genres. The Libraries’ catalog offers an extensive selection of Chicana-authored works – including poetry, fiction, or scholarly analysis – that illuminate the complexities of identity, migration, and belonging.

The visual and performing arts are integral to Chicana cultural expression, offering mediums through which artists challenge stereotypes, reclaim narratives, and celebrate heritage. Libraries’ resources include an impressive collection of visual art, photography, and performance documentation that capture the vibrancy and diversity of Chicana artistic production. From iconic murals to groundbreaking performances, these materials provide insight into the evolution of Chicana artistry and its intersections with politics, feminism, and cultural heritage.

In addition to physical holdings, the Libraries offers an array of digital archives and special collections that provide convenient access to rare and unique materials. Through digitization initiatives, scholars and enthusiasts worldwide can explore manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera related to Chicana history and culture. These digital resources not only preserve valuable artifacts but also facilitate research, teaching, and community engagement initiatives that promote awareness and understanding of Chicana experiences.

Here are some examples from the extensive holdings at the Libraries and the Benson Latin American Collection:

Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Activism and Feminism in the Movement Era by Maylei Blackwell: This groundbreaking book examines the contributions of Chicana activists during the civil rights and feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing from oral histories and archival research, Blackwell sheds light on the often-overlooked role of Chicana women in shaping social and political change.

Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS): This peer-reviewed journal focuses on the scholarly study of Chicana and Latina experiences. It publishes research articles, creative writing, book reviews, and more, reflecting the diverse voices and perspectives within the Chicana/o community.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa: An iconic work in Chicana feminist literature, Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera explores the intersection of gender, race, and culture in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. Through prose and poetry, Anzaldúa challenges conventional notions of identity and belonging, inspiring generations of activists and scholars. The Benson holds Anzaldúa’s archive, so curious scholars can see the author’s process at work from original manuscripts and source materials.

Chicana Archival Collections: The Benson Latin American Collection stands as a repository of invaluable Chicana primary resources, preserving the rich cultural tapestry and narratives of Chicana individuals. Within its holdings, iconic figures contribute distinct threads to the vibrant mosaic of Chicana heritage. Gloria Anzaldúa’s groundbreaking works challenge societal boundaries and explore the complex intersections of identity. Yolanda Alaniz’s activism and writings on feminism and Chicana identity serve as testament to the resilience and agency of Chicana women. Carmen Tafolla’s poetry and prose capture the spirit and struggles of Chicana life, while Carmen Lomas Garza’s art vividly depicts everyday scenes infused with cultural symbolism and familial warmth. These examples provide a mere cross-section of the rich Chicana holdings available to researchers and the curious alike.

Chicano Database: This comprehensive bibliographic index covers Chicano and Latino topics, including art, education, history, literature, and more. It includes citations to articles, books, book chapters, and conference papers, making it an invaluable resource for conducting research on Chicana studies.

Chicana: This documentary by Sylvia Morales traces the history of Chicana and Mexican women from pre-Columbian times to the present. It covers women’s role in Aztec society, their participation in the 1810 struggle for Mexican independence, their involvement in the US labor strikes in 1872, their contributions to the 1910 Mexican revolution and their leadership in contemporary civil rights causes, and shows how women, despite their poverty, have become an active and vocal part of the political and work life in both Mexico and the United States.

Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings edited by Alma M. Garcia: This anthology brings together key writings by Chicana feminists, spanning from the early days of the Chicano movement to the present day. Covering topics such as reproductive rights, immigration, and intersectionality, these essays and manifestos offer essential insights into Chicana feminist thought.


Whether you’re a student, scholar, or simply interested in learning more about Chicana history and culture, these materials offer a rich and diverse perspective on the contributions of Chicana women to our society.

As we commemorate Women’s History Month, let us honor the legacy of Chicana women by delving into their stories, amplifying their voices, and recognizing their enduring contributions to society. Through the resources available at the University of Texas Libraries, we have the opportunity to deepen our understanding of Chicana history, culture, and activism, ensuring that their narratives continue to inspire and empower future generations.

Happy Open Education Week!

Today marks the start of Open Education Week! Open Educational Resources are openly licensed materials that can be: 

  • Retained
  • Reused
  • Revised
  • Remixed
  • Redistributed 

OER can make a huge difference to our students. In the 2022-2023 academic year alone, students saved over $1.8 million dollars because OER was prioritized over paid course materials. 

However, as important as these resources might be, they’re often overlooked or misunderstood. Are you curious about OER? Check out this infographic to learn more. 

And if you’d like to learn even more about OER, here are our upcoming OE Week activities: 

Monday March 4th – Friday, March 8th: Come visit our blog for a daily post spotlighting OER work happening here at UT Austin.  

Tuesday, March 5th, 12pm-2pm: Tabling event in PCL Lobby. Come by to chat with a librarian about OER. 

Friday, March 8th, 1pm-2pm: OE Week Virtual Panel. Our joint student/faculty panel will discuss their experiences with adopting, implementing and even creating OER. The event is free, but you do need to register.

Staff Highlighter: Yi Shan

What’s your title, and what do you do for UTL?

Yi Shan: My title is East Asian Studies Librarian. I manage all East Asian language materials at the UTL and support the research and teaching of East Asia-related topics and disciplines on UT campus.

Any library (UT or otherwise) memory worth sharing?

YS: I can never forget my research trip to the Seikado Bunko Library in Tokyo. It’s a relatively small private collection but holds some of the rarest and most valuable premodern Chinese books. The reading room rules are very strict. You have to leave your shoes outside (like many Japanese places), wash your hands, and leave your electronics before entering the reading room. Interestingly, however, you can eat (!) your lunch inside the reading room. There is a designated lunch table at least by the time of my visit in 2019.

I found a lot of valuable primary sources for my dissertation there, and the librarian was so kind, knowledgeable, and helpful. The most exciting story is that I was so lucky to stumble upon a presumably Ming dynasty (1368–1644) manuscript that one 18th-century collector that I studied rescued from a stack of old scrap paper.

You’ve lived in many places. How does Austin compare?

YS: Austin is such a lovely city! Having lived in a few giant cities, I find the size of Austin perfectly manageable. In some way, I surprisingly find that the view of Zilker and Barton Springs area resembles a lot to my hometown, Taiyuan, at least in the way it appears in my memory. I used to say that I was okay with the cold but not the heat. Now I guess I am getting there to make my body think otherwise. Anyway, I spent my college years in one of the most notorious four “oven” cities in China, and having survived last summer in Austin, I guess I can cope. But how the heat has been trending for the future does scare me a lot.


What’s something most people don’t know about you?

YS: I love to cook. This interest in culinary art started during my grad school, and I always went to the occasion cooking lessons at the student union. Another version of myself always dreams to own and operate a restaurant. I’m pretty familiar with cooking in Chinese, French, Italian, and Japanese styles, and now I am foraying into Thai. I like to bake as well, but the oven has not been treating me as kindly as the stove has. Or when I bake a cake, it starts to hate me. 

As a historian, what makes you gravitate to the past, and how does it influence your perspective on the future?

YS: Trained mostly as a premodernist, I think what makes me excited about the past is you really have to use imagination to understand it. There’s the saying that “past is a foreign country,” but I think it is more than that. It’s like a whole different phenomenological and ontological universe. By imagination, I don’t mean that historians are inventing things and events that never existed or happened. It is that we so often need to question the take-for-granted categories and ways we thought what the past was like.

I think the future, like the past, invites bold imaginations. Building a better future, like understanding the past, needs us both to engage and work with the structures we have today but also to break free from their constraints. It’s all about defamiliarizing the familiar and bravely embracing the unfamiliar with an open and empathetic heart.

I understand you may be a train enthusiast. What is it about trains?

YS: I think my enthusiasm for all mass-transportation vehicles, trains, civil aviation, etc, all comes down to my like to travel to faraway places. I spent a big chunk of my childhood in my grandparents’ apartment right next to a train station (the complex and the station share a wall). My grandfather would tell me, “Look, this train is bound for Beijing, that is for Shanghai, that is for Xi’an,” and I always wanted to take the trains to those places.

And most times I just like the feeling of being on the way, and it has to be a long way that you don’t have to constantly worry about missing your stop. The sound of a train ride or the engines of an aircraft kind of calms me down, and I like to read and write on my way. However, I do hate packing for a trip and spending time at a train station or an airport. 

Favorite book, movie or album?

YS: Min Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko is my favorite of all fiction (very few) I’ve read since 2019. Dream of the Red Chamber/Story of the Stone (Honglou meng) is an all-time favorite. Since 2022, I’ve been following the #readingthestone reading-together project (mostly listening to their podcasts) started by Prof. Eileen Chow at Duke University. If you are interested in getting small doses of this greatest piece of Chinese literature (in both original and translation), this is the perfect place to start.

Recently I’ve started Four Treasures of the Sky, a fiction inspired by the Dream of the Red Chamber, and I am loving it.

Favorite food or drink? Make it at home or go out (and where)?

YS: My favorite food recently is Cantonese roasted duck. Ho Ho Chinese Barbecue’s roasted duck is, so far, the best that I’ve found in town. It’s very difficult to make at home, and best to leave for the pros. 

What’s the future hold?

YS: There are so many new developments in Higher Education that make the future both exciting and scary. But knowledge/expertise and a strong collection should always be our best assets to embrace the challenges and grow from them. Right now, I am exploring OCR and automated textual processing of CJK (the library jargon for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) texts and also identifying strategic growth points for our East Asian collections.

In the long run, together with my UTL colleagues and the learning community on campus, I hope to build such a collection that makes UT a strong and unique resource for East Asian studies in the world. I hope this collection will not only serve the existing and emerging research and pedagogical needs but also foster, nurture, and inspire scholarly and pedagogical innovations.

Back by Popular Demand…New Books!

After a bevy of construction projects in recent years real estate previously inhabited by New Books at the at the Perry-Castañeda Library’s entry, the new titles section is making a return.

Now situated just inside the UFCU Room on the opposite end of the ground level from the front doors, the “Selection of New Books” will feature 70-80 books per month selected by the Libraries’ Content Management staff and drawn from recent arrivals. Books will rotate off and into the general stacks on a monthly cycle as new titles arrive and selections are made.

Whether you want a break from serious scholarship, need to kill some time between stops or just want to see what’s new and available, stop by and peruse the latest offerings hand-selected by our experts.

Campus Conservators Unite to Save Time

In the ever-evolving landscape of preservation efforts, collaboration and partnerships play a crucial role in safeguarding our cultural heritage. Recently, a remarkable project was undertaken at The University of Texas at Austin, demonstrating the power of teamwork and dedication in the preservation of historical artifacts. The effort focused on preserving a rare and fragile architectural drawing of a clock face designed by the renowned French-American architect and educator Paul Philippe Cret (1876-1945).

Cret, a distinguished architect whose legacy is deeply embedded in the annals of UT architectural history, left an indelible mark with his innovative designs. He devised the University’s 1933 Campus Master Plan and designed 20 campus buildings including the Main Building and UT Tower. Among his many creations, the clock face drawing stands out as a testament to his artistic prowess and technical brilliance, and also serves as a window into past collaborations. This drawing, used to communicate to contractors how to execute the design, was likely drawn in the office of Robert Leon White, supervising architect for the University of Texas, under Cret’s direction. Part of the University of Texas Buildings Collection in the Alexander Architectural Archives at the university, this drawing is a cherished piece that encapsulates the essence of an era.

At the heart of this preservation endeavor is the Campus Conservation Initiative, a collaborative partnership between the Harry Ransom Center, the University of Texas Libraries and other collections at the university. The CCI operates with a mission to safeguard and promote access the university’s cultural heritage treasures, approving specialized conservation treatment for items from the CCI partner collections in the Ransom Center’s conservation labs.

Preservation specialists from the Ransom Center and the Libraries filled a pivotal role in ensuring the longevity of the clock face drawing. Armed with expertise in archival management, preservation and conservation, these professionals meticulously assessed the condition of the fragile material and devised a comprehensive preservation plan. The treatment for the drawing included removing tape from previous repairs, mending tears, and stabilizing other fragile areas of the drawing.  The CCI conservator had to construct a way to safely house the drawing so that it can be viewed, as well. The work is ten feet tall by five feet wide, so the preservation housing was designed with a window to allow for display, while still protecting the item.

Preserving rare and fragile materials is not merely an act of safeguarding the past but also a commitment to providing global access to valuable historical resources. The efforts put forth by The University of Texas at Austin, through the Campus Conservation Initiative, guarantee that this architectural drawing, once at risk of deterioration, remains accessible to a global audience.

Beyond the immediate benefits of access, the preservation of rare materials ensures the sustainability of primary resource materials for future generations. By safeguarding artifacts like the clock face drawing, the Campus Conservation Initiative contributes to the educational and research pursuits of scholars, students, and enthusiasts for years to come.

The collaborative efforts showcased in the preservation of the clock face drawing exemplify the significance of partnerships in the realm of cultural heritage preservation. The work of the Campus Conservation Initiative affirms UT’s dedication to the past and commitment to the future, ensuring that rare and fragile materials continue to enrich our understanding of history and architecture.


Learn more about the Campus Conservation Initiative and the project to restore Cret’s clock drawing in this article at Alcalde.

Staff Highlighter: Kiana Fekette

Kiana Fekette came to the Libraries a couple of years ago and was recently named Head of Digitization. Learn a bit about this North Carolina transplant.


What’s your background, and how did you come to work at the Libraries?

It’s a very long, somewhat complicated story of how I got to UT Libraries! Academically, I have BA in Archaeology with a double major in History and an MA in Anthropology with a focus in archaeology. More broadly, I went to university knowing that I absolutely loved history and books but wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do until I happened into a student position within my university’s special collections library as a conservation lab assistant. I knew then I wanted to pursue book and paper conservation but several major life events got in the way and I found myself working for Internet Archive after getting my undergraduate degree. Several years and one master’s degree later, we moved to Austin to be closer to my husband’s family. I wanted to work in something to do with cultural heritage but didn’t have any one specific goal in mind which is how I ended up looking for different library and archive positions.

What’s your title, and talk a little bit about what you do?

As of very recently (May 24th) I am the Head of Digitization within the Digital Stewardship and Preservation unit. Prior to this, I was the Digital Reformatting Coordinator and I started in 2021. As I am still transitioning into my new role, the majority of my responsibilities have stayed the same. I coordinate and execute the digitization of collections materials which include audio-visual and book/paper items. Our unit works closely with library staff members and patrons to make our collections materials more widely accessible by offering them in a digital format. 

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

 Knowing that so many people – both library staff and patrons – rely on the variety of resources produced by digitization. We’re not just taking high quality scans of items to keep on some random, inaccessible hard drive; our goal is to help others with the pursuit of knowledge and to ensure that these items are available for use across time and space.

What are you most proud of in your job?

Despite the small size of our unit, I am proud of the fact that we’re able to produce such a large quantity of archival-quality material for the library.

What has been your best experience at the Libraries?

 Any time the libraries staff is able to get together as a group is always such a fun time to meet new people and catch up with old friends. It’s always refreshing and reassuring to be in a space where you can truly feel the support for one another. 


What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I’ve moved around a lot – first as a military kid, then as a nomadic adult. I’ve lived in Oklahoma, all over central North Carolina, Washington state, Hawai’i, Massachusetts, Ireland, and now Texas. My family is originally from central Pennsylvania (if you can pronounce Schuylkill and Yuengling, or have ever been to Knoebels, please come and find me – I’m sure we have lots to talk about!).

Dogs or cats?

Both! (I have two cats and a dog at home)

Favorite book, movie or album?

Book: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Movie: The Princess Bride or Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Album: I don’t necessarily have a favorite album but my favorite musician is Andrew Bird

Cook at home, or go out for dinner? What and/or where?

I enjoy cooking but I also get very bored with food very easily so I’m always willing to go out to get something I wouldn’t otherwise cook. One of our favorite spots is Turnstile on Burnet Road. They’re both a coffee shop and a full-service bar with great breakfast tacos and truly incredible burgers.

What’s the future hold?

I have no clue, and I’m perfectly okay with that! I’m finally settling down in one spot for the first time in quite a while.

Staff Highlighter: Lynn Bostwick

Now that Dell Medical has adequately settled in, related programs really need some extra support. Enter Lynn Bostwick, our new Liaison Librarian for Health Sciences.


What’s your background in libraries, and how did you decide on librarianship as a career?

I decided on librarianship as a career because I was inspired in part by my grandmother who worked at the law library at SMU in Dallas when I was growing up. I learned from her to never take the access to information for granted. I also worked for a time for a non-profit providing medical information and community resources to the public, and realized then that I enjoyed the work of helping people access the information they need, so librarianship was a good fit for me. My background is in academic libraries and is varied! It includes all different types of work from cataloging and metadata creation for digitized items to reference and circulation to collection development, instruction and providing research help.

What’s your title, and what do you do for the Libraries?

My title is Liaison Librarian for Health Sciences. I work with students and faculty in Nutrition, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health providing them with classes and research help. 

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

Knowing I’ll have the opportunity to help someone or learn something each day. 

What are you most proud of in your job?

Providing a class to Nutrition students and seeing the results in their posters on display in the Union Ballroom.

What has been your best experience at the Libraries?

All the people I’ve met so far – super students, faculty and colleagues!
What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I LOVE football!

Dogs or cats?

I like dogs but have always had cats. We currently have a seal-point Siamese that rules our house. 

Favorite book, movie or album?

Tough question! Favorite album is Alkohol – Goran Bregovic. Years ago I got to see Bregovic perform with his band at Bass Concert Hall. 

Cook at home, or go out for dinner? What and/or where?

Both, but lately we’ve been going out to eat at Nori, a plant-based restaurant on Guadalupe that is so good!

What’s the future hold?

Catching up on travel post-pandemic and seeing more of the world!

Los del Valle Oral Histories Available at Libraries’ Collections Portal

The Benson Latin American Collection at The University of Texas at Austin has made a significant oral history archive featuring voices of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and Northern Mexico available online through the Libraries’ Collections Portal.

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley history professor Manuel F. Medrano launched the Los del Valle Oral History Project in 1993 with the goal of collecting and preserving historical memories in the Rio Grande Valley, a region that has been historically underrepresented in archival and published research. Many of the original interviews were broadcast in edited form on local public access television. The collection of nearly 300 videos was transferred to the Benson Latin American Collection in 2015.

Raw footage of an interview with Dr. Américo Paredes, 1995. Dr. Paredes discusses how his parents came to Brownsville, his advice for writers, and the publication of his dissertation \With a Pistol in His Hand.

“By making the Los del Valle Oral History Project fully available online, the Benson highlights the immense intellectual and cultural contributions of the people of the lower Rio Grande Valley to the state of Texas,” says John Morán González, J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor of American and English Literature and former director of the university’s Center for Mexican American Studies. “Scholars, students, and the general public now have access to key figures and ideas that will surely enrich our understanding of this unique borderlands region.”

Los del Valle (Spanish for “those of the Valley”) is a term used to describe Mexican Americans who live in the rural South Texas, especially those in Hidalgo, Starr and Cameron Counties. These predominantly Mexican American communities, some of which predate the modern border between Mexico and the United States, represent a vibrant culture along this historically fluid border. Interviewees come from both sides of the modern border, and include writers Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Carmen Tafolla and Oscar Cásares; scholar and folklorist Américo Paredes; educator Juliet Garcia; artist Carmen Lomas Garza; and accordionist Narciso Martínez. Other subjects include shrimp boat workers, Charro Days participants, World War II veterans and filmmaker Gregory Nava. These interviews cover a wide range of topics, from the early days of settlement in the region to the Chicano Movement and beyond.

An interview with Carmen Lomas Garza, a Chicana artist born in Kingsville, Texas, who talks about her art career. Lomas Garza talks about racial discrimination toward Mexican American families, and shares the influence and involvement of the Chicano movement in her life.

“Professor Manuel Medrano and his team have gifted us with an important resource that helps us understand the history of the Rio Grande Valley. By doing so, it places the RGV in the context of Texas and, more broadly, the U.S.,” says Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, director of the Voces Oral History Center and the Center for Mexican American Studies.

“Oral history is key in documenting the perspective of the Latino community—too few Latinos/as will leave diaries, letters, and other records to a publicly accessible archive,” says Rivas-Rodriguez. “But even in the case of people like Américo Paredes, who did in fact leave his papers at the Benson, oral history provides context that would otherwise be unattainable.”

Interviews with Members of the 124th Cavalry Regiment at the 30th Annual Reunion. Interviews with members of the 124th Cavalry Regiment and their wives about their background, their memories of World War II, and what the reunion means to them.

Learn more about the specific holdings in the Los del Valle Oral History Project at Texas Archival Resources Online, or browse the online collection in the Libraries’ Collections Portal.

Los del Valle Oral History Project Archive was digitized with funds from the Latin American Materials Project (LAMP), Center for Research Libraries.

Staff Highlighter: Kristin Walker

The UT Libraries is one of the largest global lenders in the world. How do those materials make it from here to there, there to here, then back again? Resource Delivery Librarian Kristin Walker knows. Let’s find out more about her work and her world.


What’s your title, and what do you do for the Libraries?

Kristin Walker: Head of Resource Delivery for Interlibrary Services. I manage the department that includes Interlibrary Loan, Get a Scan and Remote Delivery. We borrow and scan research materials for the UT Austin community. Our department fills in gaps within the UT Libraries’ collections and we are able to obtain almost everything for our users. We also ship books to graduate students and faculty that are in remote locations, provide scans for faculty to use in their course materials and we digitize UT Austin dissertations and theses.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

KW: I am motivated by knowing that so many UT Austin researchers depend on our department to supply them with the critical materials needed to complete their projects. It feels good to know that we can help them or make things easier in some small way.

What are you most proud of in your job?

KW: I am most proud when Interlibrary Services is mentioned as one of the most valuable services provided by the UT Libraries. 

ILS seems to be a bit of a quiet giant. How important is your department?

KW: Interlibrary loan is considered a critical library service to supplement library collections. No library owns every book or journal, so libraries share their collections with each other. A lot of what we do is behind the scenes, but it is all very necessary to the UT Austin community. It may seem like a mysterious process from the outside, but we use a mix of automation, research and a high level of staff training to make our work seamless to our users.

What has been your best experience at the Libraries?

KW: The best part of working at the Libraries is the people you interact with on a daily basis. My department interacts in some way with almost every other department in the Libraries and this has given me a wholistic insight as to how all of the parts work together.


What’s something most people don’t know about you?

KW: I love K-Dramas (Korean TV shows) and I’m learning Korean on Duolingo.

Dogs or cats?

KW: Cats! I currently have two black cats.

Favorite book, movie or album?

KW: Favorite Book: The Thought Gang by Tibor Fischer ISBN: 978-0684830797

Favorite Movie: Wings of Desire; Director Wim Wenders

Favorite Album: Aladdin Sane by David Bowie

Cook at home, or go out for dinner? What and/or where?

KW: I usually cook at home. I attempt a lot of Asian inspired recipes, but I also make simple soups and tray bakes.

What’s the future hold? 

KW: There is much more emphasis on digital collections, open access and accessibility as they apply to interlibrary loan and document delivery. Long term, I see copyright laws being revised and modernized to account for digital items.