As the 2013 spring semester ends and the summer begins, we look back on an academic year packed with public events. A glance through the list reveals an astonishing variety, from an exhibit of fossils to an exhibit focusing on medical outreach, from a panel about library technology to a presentation by a comics and fantasy artist. These events would not have been possible without the concerted efforts of the entire VCU Libraries staff, the VCU Friends of the Library, the James Branch Cabell Library Library Associates, and many other library supporters around VCU and the Richmond community. To everyone, a big thanks for your help.
And in case you missed any events, a number of them can be watched in video form on the VCU Libraries YouTube channel (see below for individual links).
"Books You Carry with You" exhibit | August 6-September 27
This exhibit, on loan from the Richmond Public Library, featured the reflections of more than 50 Richmond leaders about the children's books that had taught them invaluable lessons. For its appearance in Cabell Library, it was expanded to include a wall on which visitors could post their own thoughts about the children's books that they loved. The wall accumulated hundreds of Post-it Notes featuring everything from Aesop's fables to "Harry Potter."
"Australopithecine!" exhibit | August 20-December 18
The VCU School of World Studies anthropology program arranged this exhibit of facsimile fossilized skeletons of two specimens of Australopithecus sediba, a human-like primate thought by some researchers to be an ancestor of Homo sapiens. Students from the anthropology program conducted special instructional sessions for high-school classes that came to see the exhibit.
Robert Browning exhibit | October 18-December 7
In conjunction with the 2012 Victorian Institute Annual Conference held at VCU, this exhibit offered library visitors the opportunity to browse vintage papers, books, ephemera and other materials pertaining to English poet Robert Browning. All of the items came from the extensive collection of Mark Samuels Lasner and were on loan from the University of Delaware.
CHEC 10th Anniversary Lecture | October 18
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Community Health Education Center (CHEC), VCU Libraries and VCU Health Systems hosted this lecture by John J. Nance, popular novelist and authority on patient safety. Nance proposed a model of healthcare in which the various branches of medicine worked together to provide the highest possible degree of service to patients.
VCU Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale | October 24-28
Every year, people from miles around Richmond travel to Cabell Library for the book sale sponsored by the VCU Friends of the Library. The book sale this past year was one of the most successful ever, thanks in part to enormous collections of comic books, audio books and classic series for children and young adults, such as "Nancy Drew" and "The Hardy Boys."
VCU Cabell First Novelist Award celebration | November 8
Justin Torres, winner of the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, read from his novel, "We the Animals," and was joined by his agent and publisher for a discussion, led by Richmond-based writer Valley Haggard, on the evolution of the novel and its unique style and thematic content. The event drew attendees from around the region, including many students from the Appomattox Regional Governor's School for the Arts and Technology.
"Moving up to the Cloud" panels | January 9
Librarians from Virginia and beyond gathered for this pair of panels focusing on the future of library information systems and on VCU Libraries' historic move to Alma, cutting-edge cloud-based software for cataloging and managing library resources. The panels featured important voices in the field of information systems, including Marshall Breeding, Mark Ryland of Amazon Web Services, and Mark Triest, president of Ex Libris North America, as well as VCU University Librarian John Ulmschneider.
Panel 1 video | Panel 2 video
11th Annual Black History Month Lecture | February 5
An audience of 400 packed the house for this lecture featuring Innocence Project co-director Peter Neufeld and exoneree Marvin Anderson. The discussion between the two touched upon inequities in legal preceedings and the important role of objective evidence such as DNA in initiating reform within the justice system.
Video | Photos
"Gabriel's Conspiracy" panel | March 13
In this panel, held in partnership with the VCU Year of Freedom Committee, prominent scholars Dr. Michael Nicholls and Dr. Philip J. Schwarz considered the genesis of the suppressed Richmond slave rebellion of 1800 and its impact on attitudes and policy throughout Virginia. Janine Yvette Bell of the Elegba Folklore Society moderated a fascinating conversation between the two scholars and the audience.
Video | Photos
"Digital Pragmata" series | March 26, April 25, May 2
Conceived as a forum for Richmond-based professionals in the digital humanities to share their work and to discuss issues in this rapidly evolving field, the "Digital Pragmata" series consisted of three panel events, all held in Cabell Library, featuring prominent speakers addressing faculty, staff and graduate students from VCU and the local community. Edward Ayers, president of the University of Richmond, gave the keynote presentation.
Session 1 videos | Session 2 videos | Session 2 photos
"Another Untold Story of Race and Richmond" presentation | March 28
Carmen Foster, a long-time support of VCU Libraries, discussed the history of Hartshorn Memorial College, a private school for African-American women founded in 1883 and now a part of Virginia Union University, and the challenges faced by its graduates because of the racial climate in the early-twentieth-century South. The event, held in Cabell Library Special Collections and Archives, overflowed with attendees.
28th Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture | April 4
Titled "What Gives Life Meaning? A Jewish Response," this lecture examined the age-old pursuit of meaning in life from a specifically Jewish perspective. Dr. Jack D. Spiro, one of the most popular speakers in the region, always draws a large crowd from across the VCU and wider-Richmond communities, and this event was no exception. With an audience of more than 500 people, it ranked among the best attended in VCU Libraries history.
"The Art of Magic Making" presentation | April 18
Aficiondos of comics and fantasy illustration gathered for this presentation and book signing. Charles Vess discussed his rise from a hopeful VCU undergraduate (and employee of Cabell Library!) to the renowned artist of hugely successful works such as "Sandman," "The Books of Magic" and "Stardust." Only a month after the event, the video recording on YouTube had already been watched more than 500 times, a record for VCU Libraries.
Video | Photos
"Rams Reaching Out" photo exhibit | April 18-September 30
For this exhibit, students in the health sciences submitted photos of their outreach activities. The photos, often touching and inspiring, illustrate the commitment of VCU students to serving the community and beyond. The exhibit is the fourth to appear on the rennovated gallery walls on the first floor of Tompkins-McCaw Library and will continue though the summer and into the fall semester of 2013.
Student lamp exhibit | April 26-May 10
Students from the VCU Departments of Interior Design and of Crafts and Material Studies teamed up to create the seven working light fixtures that made up this exhibit. Each light fixture was inspired by objects from Cabell Library Special Collections and Archives. The exhibit, held in Cabell Library during spring exam season on the Monroe Park Campus, caught the eyes of countless visitors.