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Spring 2016: Our busiest ever event season

May 18, 2016

This spring, events sponsored by VCU Libraries or held in our buildings attracted a record-breaking total of 8,100 attendees. This is only 1,000 shy of the nearly 9,100 people who attended VCU Libraries events during the entire 2014–15 academic year. With approximately 50 events, 35 of which were held in the new Cabell Library Lecture Hall, we kept extraordinarily busy. 

Spring 2016 Public Event Highlights

Jan. 27, April 28 Print+Web Series
Since its start in 2013, the Digital Pragmata series has maintained an ardent following of teachers, students, artists and others interested in the intersection of the humanities and technology. This spring, Digital Pragmata offered a two-part look at many facets of online publishing, including the questions it raises about print literature and the future of communication.

Video for event 1 | Video for event 2

Feb. 3, Feb. 17, March 24 Meet VCU's Authors Series
VCU Libraries continued its partnership with the VCU Humanities Research Center with a new round of "Meet VCU's Authors" events, highlighting the work of faculty and staff with recent book. Authors this semester were Nicholas Frankel from the Department of English, Jason Arnold from the Department of Political Science and Victor Chen from the Department of Sociology. VCU Libraries also hosted the center's series "HIV/AIDS: Local, National and Global perspectives," including a talk by renowned activist Edwin Cameron, a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, who was profiled in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Feb. 4 They Shoot Black People, Don't They? From Ferguson to NYC
Political cartoonist Keith Knight packed the Lecture Hall for a provocative presentation using his humor and artwork as a lens through which to view political violence in the United States. Enthusiastic, energized attendees stayed after the event for hours to talk with Knight, get books signed and buy prints of his art. The event received an award from the VCU branch of the National Residence Hall Honorary student leadership organization as an important event that made a different in February.

Photos | VCU News Story on Black History Month, highlighting the event | Article in The Commonwealth Times | Article in The Richmond Free Press | Article in The Washington Post on black cartoonists, highlighting Knight's work

Feb. 10 Birth of a Nation, Birth of a Movement
VCU Libraries partnered with the VCU Robertson School of Media and Culture for this event coming at the end of the centennial year of the infamous silent movie by D.W. Griffith. Much has been said about the outcry in the African American community over the movie, but this VCU event explored specifically the reaction in Virginia. Before the event, John Kneebone, chair of the VCU Department of History, highlighted a recent VCU Libraries project on the spread of the Ku Klux Klan.

VCU News Story on Black History Month, highlighting the event | VCU Libraries News Story about the Ku Klux Klan mapping project

Feb. 19, March 25 — Copyright for Creators sessions 2 and 3
The Copyright for Creators series was new for the 2015-16 academic year. Each lunchtime event attracted a crowd of VCU students, faculty and staff invested in the arts, who came to learn more about copyright law as it pertains to creative work. The series was led by University Counsel Madelyn Wessel.

Photos from session 2

Feb. 24 — The Secret History of Wonder Woman
VCU's Common Book for 2015-16 was a deep look into the origins of one of the heroes of both the comics industry and feminism, focusing on her creator, Dr. William Marston, his family and their shared interests in defying cultural and sexual norms. Author and Jill Lepore spoke to a standing-room-only crowd, answered questions and spoke about her current research projects.

Photos | VCU News Interview with Jill Lepore | Article on the book in The Commonwealth Times

Feb. 26 — African American Read-in
As a wrap-up to Black History Month this year, attendees read aloud from works by or about African Americans, Africans or the diaspora. Feedback from attendees was positive and may lead to future read-ins with various themes.


March 15 — Sanger Series Lectures by Brian Nosek and Lynn Zentner
The Sanger Series, a successful ongoing partnership between VCU Libraries and the VCU Office of Research and Innovation, explores ethical issues and trends affecting research and scholarship in the sciences and attracts an audience of professionals from throughout the extended VCU community. At these latest installments of the series, Brian Nosek, director of the Center for Open Science, and Lynn Zentner, director of the Office of Institutional Compliance at the University of Minnesota, explored the need for greater transparency and reproducibility in scientific studies and institutional conflicts of interest.

March 15 — James Branch Cabell Library Grand Opening and 31st Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture
On March 18, 2015, we raised the last beam of the new Cabell Library construction project, and almost exactly one year later, we opened the doors of the newly completed building to the public. Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton and VCU President Michael Rao joined the roster of speakers. Some 300 attendees toured the building. That evening, Jack D. Spiro, Harry Lyons Distinguished Chair in Judaic Culture at the VCU School of World Studies, gave the last of his Brown-Lyons Lectures, titled "And the Prophetic Message Lives on..." 

Grand opening video and photos | Brown-Lyons lecture video and photos | Roundup of news coverage

April 20 — Friends of VCU Libraries Book Sale
The annual book sale went on hiatus in 2013 while we completed contruction at Cabell Library. To celebrate the completion of the construction and to clear out some overload stock of books, DVDs, etc. that had built up, the Friends of VCU Libraries staged a one-day, "pop up style" sale. Organized in partnership with the VCU Emerging Leaders Program for students, the sale raised $5,000. The fall sale returns Oct. 27-31, 2016.


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