12 February 2010

Exhibits at the UA Libraries with the Undergraduate Services Team

I had the pleasure of working with two different librarians from the Undergraduate Services Team (UST) on two very different book exhibits and displays.

The first exhibit I worked on—along with librarian Rebecca Blakiston and other Progressive Librarians Guild members—was for Banned Books Week, the yearly event promoted by the American Library Association. Although the actual set-up of the exhibit and the displays was a group effort, my contribution came in the form of researching the banned books (in addition to the ones highlighted by the American Library Association) and creating summary display cards with each book’s title, author and a short description of why the book was banned and/or challenged. The exhibit itself featured several large “black boxes” with peep holes to showcase previously challenged classic and popular literature. Additionally, the exhibit was mentioned and photographed in American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association.


The second exhibit I worked on, supported by librarian Jeanne Pfander, entitled “Sky, Star and Sea: Multicultural Perspectives on the Cosmos,” timed with both the Junior Scientists Kids’ Day (a large Homecoming event for the UA community’s youth) and the International Year of Astronomy (2009). The premise of the exhibit was to examine different stories about the cosmos—including stories on the sun, moon and stars as well as those about the creation and evolution of life—from different multicultural perspectives, all through the lens of children’s literature. In addition to the materials borrowed from the substantial children’s literature section at the Main Library, many of the books were graciously loaned by the World of Words International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature, a small but diverse private collection housed at the UA College of Education.

The goal of the exhibit was twofold: to combine astronomical elements with children’s literature and to showcase living and ancient cosmological traditions from around the globe (and many from our own multicultural community in Arizona). Many of the stories were retellings of cultural knowledge from various tribal communities and Nations—such as Native Hawaiians, the Cherokee and the Santa Ana Pueblo communities—along with mythology from the Classical Aztecs, the Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Greeks and Ancient Scandinavians. The exhibit also highlighted some amazing illustrations in contrast to the normal literature found in the Science and Engineering Library on the University of Arizona campus.


Jeffery Cruz is a Knowledge River Scholar and an ARL Diversity Scholar graduate student in SIRLS and is currently the Knowledge River Graduate Assistant in the UA Libraries’ Undergraduate Services Team.

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