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Archive for March, 2014

Book Arts

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street: Selected Artists’ Books

The UVM Libraries’ Book Arts Collection includes nine books created when the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition called on book artists to “reassemble” an inventory of books and reading material lost after a car bomb exploded on Baghdad’s “Street of Booksellers” on March 5, 2007. The winding street, named after the tenth-century Arab poet, al-Mutanabbi, was filled with bookstores and bookstalls, cafes and gathering places. It was an important center of the city’s intellectual community. Many booksellers were killed and wounded, and stores and stalls were destroyed.

In 2010, the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition asked artists to create books “that reflected both the strength and fragility of books, but also showed the endurance of the ideas within them.” Artists from around the world have donated over 260 books to the project. One complete set of the books will be donated to the Iraq National Library in Baghdad, and others are being exhibited in the United States and Europe. Visit Special Collections to see the books shown here, and more.

wehr

Al-Mutanabbi Street
The pages of Beata Wehr’s pamphlet contain carpets with the words “a book” in different languages and alphabets. It can be read from left to right, or from right to left, depending on the cultural preference. No matter where the reader starts, they will move into the attack—indicated by the blacked out text on the center page spread—and then beyond to the resurgence of books, on pages where the text is highlighted with bits of added color.

sawyer

To Make You See
Suzanne Sawyer printed quotes from Joseph Conrad and Seneca over a map of Baghdad that shows the area of al-Mutannabi Street. Sawyer chose the quotes “for their connection to the importance of books and reading as common ground for all people.”

minute

In the Minute Before, In the Minute After
Maureen Cummins and Tona Wilson used a dos à dos (back-to-back) structure to join two books, one that portrays a long and glorious literary and cultural heritage before the bomb exploded at 11:40 am, and a second that portrays the hellish world after the explosion.

jetter

Street of Booksellers
Francis Jetter used a long accordion structure to show a street full of cafes and conversations, writers and readers, ghosts and dreams. The carved wooden covers put the “spines and bodies of books burned, broken, bulldozed” in our hands.

martin

Not a Straight Line
Emily Martin joined 10 small, Coptic-bound books to suggest a winding street of booksellers. As the reader unfolds the structure, the orientation twists and turns, suggesting the chaos that ensued after the explosion. Each book contains one line of text.

memento

Memento
Julie Chen created a meticulously designed metal locket that houses a small book on one side and a triptych on the other side. The small book challenges us to think about our relationship to printed words, information and reading. The triptych includes a woven token framed by photographs of al-Mutanabbi Street before the explosion. The texts on the woven strips are taken from the preambles to the United States and Iraqi constitutions. Visit UVM Special Collections to see the books shown here, and more.

veenema1

Al-Mutanabbi Street
Mary McCarthy and Shirley Veenema describe their book as “A circular narrative of destruction and rebirth, entered by either cover. Panoramas of place and events capture the irrepressible nature of words, thoughts, and ideas.” They collaborated to produce the collaged images, which are presented in an accordion structure that can be wrapped into a circle. The covers are covered with sand.

onebyone

One by One
Lynn Avadenka’s contribution to the al-Mutanabbi Street inventory was inspired by Wilfred Owen’s 1916 poem, The Parable of the Old Man and the Young, which appears on the last panel, at the end of what might be shops along a street or books on a shelf.

Laureates Kochalka and Lea to Speak

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

doublelaureate-200

Vermont Double Laureate Team-Up

April 8, 2014, 5:30 pm in the Special Collections Reading Room, Bailey/Howe Library, UVM

James Kochalka, Vermont’s first cartoonist laureate, and Sydney Lea, the state’s poet laureate, will talk about their unique collaboration during the fall of 2013. Sponsored by the Vermont Arts Council and the Center for Cartoon Studies, Lea and Kochalka exchanged drawings and verses to produce a book of illustrated poetry, Vermont Double Laureate Team-up. Called “a book of poetic cartoons,” it contains two stories, “Garnett and Leon in December,” and ” Squiggle: Tonight’s the Night.” Copies of the book printed especially for this event will be available to those who come to the April 8 presentation.

James Kochalka is a cartoonist, musician, and a faculty member at the Center for Cartoon Studies. He is well known for his Monkey vs. Robot series and for American Elf, which he produced daily for ten years.

Sydney Lea has published eleven collections of poetry, including the most recent, I was Thinking of Beauty. His nonfiction works include Notes on Rambling, Hunting the Whole Way Home, and A Little Wilderness. In 2013, Lea collaborated with Fleda Brown, a former poet laureate of Delaware, on a book of essays, Growing Old In Poetry: Two Poets, Two Lives. Lea has taught at several colleges and universities in New England and contributed to many literary journals and magazines. He founded and edited the New England Review from 1977-1989.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, email uvmsc@uvm.edu or call 656-2138.

 

 

 

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.”

Dana Medical Library: HERStory Exhibit

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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The Dana Medical Library is currently displaying “American Women in Medicine and Health Care Sciences” in celebration of UVM Women’s HERStory Month. The exhibit highlights some of the extraordinary achievements and famous firsts by women, and is on view throughout the month of March 2014. The exhibit is also on display at the College of Medicine Hoehl Gallery in the Given Medical building.