The Process of Learning through a Pandemic

Photo of Undergraduate Library Fellow Tara Madhavby Tara Madhav ’21

During a particularly difficult year, the Undergraduate Library Fellows and Library Mentors had to think together about how to expand library services in a time when physical access to library services was greatly limited for Berkeley students. As we prioritized accessibility in our meetings, we had to take into account the fact that most students would not be on campus, let alone enter the library, for the duration of the academic year. The pandemic brought particularly important meaning to the idea of “design thinking.” Our mentors prioritized process over product, guiding us through a non-linear process to understand how we can understand and assist with people’s library needs.

I was part of the Making Research Accessible Team with Katherine Chen, Joseph Rodriguez, and Zhane Garlington. We received guidance and support from Nicole Brown, Kiyoko Shiosaki, Gisele Tanasse, and Kristina Bush as we navigated the process of creating a survey that would accurately assess the student community’s library needs. Perhaps because we could not consult our peers easily in a virtual environment, the survey design process required us to ask deep questions about who our audience was. Moreover, we had to study our own understanding of what library services were. If we were the intended audience for a survey like the one we sent out, how would we understand the question we were being asked? Not only did we need to thoroughly examine how effective these questions were, we had to draft questions that were conscious of the environment we were living through. We added two questions that asked students about the impact of the pandemic on their ability to impact library services, asking what strengths students could identify with library services during the pandemic and what they found lacking.

Through the design process, I learned about the particular importance of collaboration. As our team worked to identify appropriate questions, I found it valuable to draw on my peers’ and mentors’ experiences to create an accessible survey. Our survey provides insight into a unique and transitional year for the Berkeley libraries — next year, the libraries will re-open fully and the Oskicat search database will be replaced with the UC Library Search, which will unite all UC library holdings into a single discovery tool. I look forward to the innovative projects that the 2021-2022 library fellows develop as they help students navigate these exciting changes.

Before my graduation this May, I benefited from Berkeley library services before and during these turbulent times. I met incredible peers and mentors through the Library Fellows program, I used extensive physical and digital resources to write my research papers and senior thesis, and I spent hours studying at beautiful libraries like Doe. I would encourage Berkeley students to take full advantage of the university’s opportunities, facilities, and collections — it will enrich your college experience in many ways.


Summer Reading: The Flick

Book cover for The FlickThe Flick
Annie Baker

Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this play examines the lives of three young people who work in one of the last independently owned movie theaters in New England. Each character struggles with finding their place in a world that is changing rapidly. By the end, each of them finds hope as they move on. The New York Times calls it “hilarious and touching.”

JOHN LEVINE
Lecturer
College Writing Programs

This book is part of the 2021 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!


UC Berkeley Library’s Web Page of Task Force on Racial Justice Launched!

Today our University Librarian Professor Jeff MacKie-Mason, University Librarian, Chief Digital Scholarship Officer, Professor, School of Information and Professor of Economics, UC Berkeley Library made a formal announcement about the report by the Library’s Task Force for on Racial Justice.

The webpage can be accessed here: https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/about/racial-justice-task-force

The full charge of the Task Force can be accessed by clicking here.

Library Colleagues can access the report below.

“In spring 2020, the Task Force presented an initial report to Library Cabinet. This briefing includes a list of proposed recommendations and actionable strategies for improving the ways in which racism and discrimination can be addressed within the campus library system.

Read the report.”

The full statement can be read here by clicking on this text!

https://www.lib.berkeley.edu/about/racial-justice-task-force

 

Source: An email dated from the co-Chair Shannon Monroe on 5/25/21 announced the launch of this webpage.


UCB Library Event: Undaunted Archivists and Curators from the American South Speak!

Undaunted Archivists and Curators from the American South Speak!

Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2021

9:30-11 a.m. PDT
12:30-2 p.m. EDT,
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. MDT,
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. CDT

The registration link is below. The event is free, and all are invited to attend.

http://ucberk.li/3fm  


CRL Webinar-Radical Collaboration: Library Publisher Partnerships to Advance the Global Knowledge Commons

The CRL Webinar are available at the end of this post.

The Global Press Archive Charter Alliance is an initiative by East View Information Services and the Center for Research Libraries to develop a unique series of thematically designed collections to meet the priorities of the CRL members. 74 CRL (including UCB) and NERL libraries have committed $4.25 million to help launch the first three years of the project.

So far, we have access to Mexican Revolutionary Newspapers and Russian Imperial Newspapers as a part of this process.

Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers 

The Independent and Revolutionary Mexican Newspapers collection, with a preliminary release of 135,000 pages from 477 titles, will ultimately include approximately 1,000 titles from Mexico’s pre-independence, independence, and revolutionary periods (1807-1929).

Imperial Russian Newspapers 

The Imperial Russian Newspapers collection comprises out-of-copyright newspapers spanning the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, up to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. [1782-1918]

Webinar Recording is below:


Summer reading: The Namesake

Book cover for The NamesakeThe Namesake
Jhumpa Lahiri

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel, The Namesake, speaks to how one’s character, seemingly burdened by the past, can be redefined across time, space, and culture. In this story, Gogol Ganguli, a child of Indian immigrants much like Lahiri herself, struggles to adopt an identity that satisfies both the expectations of his Bengali relatives in Calcutta and his peers in the United States. As Gogol uncovers the history behind his name, we watch him tangle with family tradition, tumble through telling love affairs, and develop a fond interest in architecture — fitting as he tries to assemble his own persona. With simple yet elegant prose rendered in page-turning fashion, Lahiri illustrates how Gogol sees and re-sees the world upon gaining clarity about his past.

ALLIE COYNE
Class of 2021
Molecular and Cell Biology major

This book is part of the 2021 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!


Mexico and the conquest of Tenochtitlán (May 1521-2021)

The month of May this year marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlán (1521-2021). The tragedies that unfolded in the continent after the conquest are well documented. However, as far as the accounts of the fall of the Tenochtitlán are concerned, there are several different opinions and disagreements. What about the letters of Hernán Cortés? Here is the second letter from the WDL

Also on the archive.org, we see a digitized copy of JCB’s 1552 Francisco López de Gómara’s “La historia general de las Indias, y todo lo acaescido enellas dende que se ganaron hasta agora. ; y La conquista de Mexico, y dela Nueua España.
 

 

What are some of the primary sources that are now open access and can be used to inform us about the events that unfolded five hundred years ago? One such source is Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s is work, Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España.” On the right, one sees a title page of the 1632 imprint of the same that is available in Google Books.

While some often use paintings from the late 17th century to depict and describe the fall of the capital of the Aztecs, these are often functions of the artistic license, and in some cases, we do not know who could have painted them.

 

The painting, such as the one below, is one example from the Library of Congress’ collection. Can images narrate the nuanced past accurately? These images are from the LOC’s exhibition and also in Wikimedia commons.

But where are the voices of those who were conquered but not vanquished? Can we rely on Codex Florentino as one perhaps contested source? The WDL (from the collection of Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana) has made it available for the readers to judge the process that began with the conquest of Tenochtitlán. The LOC’s description reads, “Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España” (General History of the Things of New Spain), as the Florentine Codex is formally known, is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled over a period of 30 years by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. The text is in Spanish and Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Its 12 books, richly illustrated by indigenous artists, cover the Aztec religion and calendar, economic and social life, Aztec history and mythology, the use of plants and animals and the Spanish conquest as seen through the eyes of the native Mexicans.”

I leave you with unfinished thoughts. Can a manuscript tell the story? See for yourself by watching Getty Researcher Institute’s five-part series. And with Taibo’s, “¿Historia para qué?”I love Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s argument about who we are? And his questioning of sanitization history where Cortes and Cuauhtemōc are dancing La Sandunga.


Call for Proposals: LAUC-B 2021 Conference Oct 5-6 2021 – Reimagining Libraries Through Critical Library Practices, October 5-6, 2021- Call for Proposals Due June 15, 2021

The Librarian’s Association of the University of California, Berkeley (LAUC-B) invites you to submit a proposal for the 2021 conference, Reimagining Libraries Through Critical Library Practices, an online conference that will take place Tuesday, October 5 to Wednesday, October 6, 10 am to 3 pm PST.

Proposals are due Tuesday, June 15, 2021, and can be submitted using this form. We will notify successful applicants by July 15, 2021.

For further conference information and the full call for proposals, please visit LAUC-B 2021 Conference Website

Call for proposals brief version: Library work is embedded in and inherently tied to socio-political circumstances. We welcome proposals that emphasize and examine critical librarianship through the lens of social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racist work.

We invite proposals from diverse voices addressing critical library practices including:

  • Community Archives, Inclusion, and Underrepresented Communities
  • Critical Library Pedagogy
  • Developing standards for critical librarianship in Digital Literacy and Digital Scholarship
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Open Access
  • Social Justice and Anti-racist Work
  • The theory and practice of critical library work that includes all library professionals

All proposal abstracts should be no more than 300 words and indicate the type of session you are proposing. We will be holding the following session formats:

  • Lightning Talks (5-7 minute presentations)
  • 20-minute individual presentations
  • 50-minute panel
  • Poster session

We encourage proposals for virtual presentations that represent all aspects of library work (including technical services, access services, interlibrary loan, reference, instruction, library administration, technology, youth services, and more) and all library workers (including library students, paraprofessionals, and members of underrepresented groups).

For further conference information, please visit here.

Please submit your proposal by Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Successful applicants will be notified by Thursday, July 15, 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact us through the website or at laucbconfinfo@lists.berkeley.edu

Sincerely,

LAUC-B 2021 Conference Committee:

Paromita B. (UCLA)
Kelsey B. (UCI)
Kristina B. (UCB)
Lia F. (UCSD)
Ann G. (UCB)
Shannon K. (UCB)
Corliss L. (UCB)
Natalie M. (UCI)
Jin M. (UCSD)
Erica N. (UCB)
Liladhar P. (UCB)
Scott P (UCB)
Christina V. (UCB)