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Remembering Birdie MacLennan

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Birdie MacLennan

It is with great sadness that we share that our colleague, Library Professor Birdie MacLennan passed away on March 10, 2014, after a brief illness.

Birdie began working in the Libraries’ Cataloging Department in 1990, after working at Harvard University and Merrimack College and receiving a Master of Library Sciences from Simmons College. Since 2008, she served as Director of the UVM Libraries’ Resource Description and Analysis Services Department. Her service to the library profession resulted in widespread recognition from her peers around the world. She was also an active member of the UVM faculty, with many years of service on the Faculty Senate’s Professional Standards Committee.

In 2005 she received a Master of Arts in French from UVM; these studies greatly informed her teaching and scholarship. She was the Libraries’ subject liaison to the Romance Languages department, where her growing proficiencies in French and Italian benefited faculty and students and satisfied her deep intellectual curiosity. Birdie was an accomplished and internationally recognized scholar, with particularly strong ties to Québec. Her in-depth research on the Grande Bibliothèque of Québec resulted in published works on libraries and cultural identity. She was an active member of the Burlington Italian Club and the Alliance Française Lake Champlain Region Chapter.

Birdie leaves behind a powerful and passionate legacy as a steward of Vermont history. Through projects funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, she helped to ensure preservation copies and digital access for Vermont’s historic newspapers. Most recently, she served as Project Director and Principal Investigator for the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project, securing multiple rounds of funding and overseeing the creation of 250,000 pages of digital content, much of which is now available on the Library of Congress Chronicling America website.

Birdie was a devoted colleague and mentor, dedicated to serving students, faculty, staff, and librarians-in-training. She was compassionate, generous, and supportive to all who knew her. She will be profoundly missed in the faculty and staff of the University Libraries and as a valuable faculty member at the University of Vermont. She is survived by her sister Anne MacLennan Perkins, her niece Dominika Perkins, and her brother-in-law Donald Perkins of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

The Libraries are establishing a fund to further Birdie’s work preserving Vermont’s newspapers and will create a local digital collection in her name. Checks can be made payable to the UVM Foundation and directed to the UVM Libraries, in honor of Birdie MacLennan (The University of Vermont Foundation, 411 Main St., Burlington, VT 05401).

Birdie after a Chinese calligraphy lesson in Singapore last year. She wrote, "The character represents: Longevity, Life, Vivacity 壽 in the traditional Chinese script."

Birdie after a Chinese calligraphy lesson in Singapore last year. She wrote, “The character represents: Longevity, Life, Vivacity 壽 in the traditional Chinese script.”

“Fruitvale Station”, A Film Review by Phil Cheney

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

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Fruitvale Station DVD 9902

 

Fruitvale Station is the true day-in-the-life story of Oscar Grant, a young struggling father who was shot to death by a police officer in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day of 2009. Most film review writers would find a witty sentence to convey how moving the film is, I will state most simply that it is nothing short of heartbreaking. The whole film builds to create a character that is kind, compassionate, and under a lot of stress from responsibility. While the character wins the audience over with charm, there is a building anticipation of dread and doom leading up to a devastating finale of loss and regret. All of which is beautifully shot with mostly natural lighting and very simple yet intricate compositions.

Besides being the emotionally driven and politically oriented film it is; Fruitvale Station is also one of the best film debuts from a writer/director that I have ever seen. The talented individual who brought this film to life is 27 year old Ryan Coogler, a graduate student from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Growing up in the East Bay area north of Oakland, CA, Coogler was part of the community that was emotionally shocked by the murder of Oscar Grant by a police officer, which inspired him to write this screenplay about injustice and prejudice. Despite all of the sadness and melancholy of the film there is just as much love, tenderness and sense of community which is what makes the well-structured script so impactful. In an interview on the film Coogler stated that the scene where Oscar Grant is shot was filmed on location at the real station and the crew noticed that the bullet hole from the actual murder was still in the ground.

Aside from the fantastic direction and writing, the performances are also superb. Rising star Michael B. Jordan carries out the martyr-like role with sensitivity, compassion and anger. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer carries out her heart-wrenching role of Oscar’s mother with a competence equal to her award winning status; besides playing this key role she was also a major supporter in producing the film.

In our current period of cinema, where bland superhero movies or romantic comedies seem to be pumped out like a mindless conveyer belt; it is refreshing to see a beautiful film whose content is directed towards extreme social importance and humanist emphasis.

Persistent Link

Intercoms Installed in Group Study Rooms

Friday, January 17th, 2014

intercom-system
Intercoms were installed in B/H Group Study Rooms during Winter Break as a way to troubleshoot technology questions with patrons and as a way to remind them when their room-use is ending. All ten study rooms have an intercom that is linked to a base unit at the Circulation desk.

New Books: Quiet Heroism

Friday, January 10th, 2014

These works can be found on our New Book shelf in Bailey/Howe, an ever-rotating sampling of things we’re adding to our collection. You can also review all our newest books online, and subscribe via RSS to receive alerts about acquisitions, by discipline.

CourageHasNoColor-large
Courage has no color: the true story of the Triple Nickles: America’s first Black paratroopers
, by Tanya Lee Stone

Examines the role of African-Americans in the military through the history of the Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers, who fought against attacks perpetrated on the American West by the Japanese during World War II.

 

 

Stranger
Stranger in my own country : a Jewish family in modern Germany,
by Yascha Mounk

A moving and unsettling exploration of a young man’s formative years in a country still struggling with its past As a Jew in postwar Germany, Yascha Mounk felt like a foreigner in his own country. When he mentioned that he is Jewish, some made anti-Semitic jokes or talked about the superiority of the Aryan race. Others, sincerely hoping to atone for the country’s past, fawned over him with a forced friendliness he found just as alienating.

 

slaverys

Slavery’s exiles : the story of the American Maroons, by Sylviane A. Diouf

Over more than two centuries men, women, and children escaped from slavery to make the Southern wilderness their home. They hid in the mountains of Virginia and the low swamps of South Carolina; they stayed in the neighborhood or paddled their way to secluded places; they buried themselves underground or built comfortable settlements. Known as maroons, they lived on their own or set up communities in swamps or other areas where they were not likely to be discovered.

 

Keeping the Air Clear

Monday, August 19th, 2013

breath easy

The front entrance to Bailey/Howe continues to be a smoke-free corridor. UVM maintains a policy of no-smoking withing 25 feet a building’s entrance or window.