University of Texas at Arlington

Library News

Maker literacies research team (L-R) Morgan Chivers, Katie Musick Peery, Martin Wallace (missing) Gretchen Trkay
UTA FabLab leads national collaboration

UTA FabLab leads national collaboration

University of Texas at Arlington Libraries is leading a team comprised of six library makerspaces across the country in a pilot study to investigate the effectiveness of early-stage maker-based competencies in undergraduate learning, stemming from work developed by a UTA Libraries task force. The Maker Competencies and the Undergraduate Curriculum project is funded by a $49,800 National Leadership Grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Martin Wallace, Maker Literacies and Engineering Librarian at UTA Libraries, leads the research team, which also includes Gretchen Trkay, Katie Musick Peery, and Morgan Chivers of UTA Libraries. The team traveled to several university library makerspaces across the country, ultimately selecting five of them to join the study.

“It was a lengthy process, and a hard choice given the amazing selection of academic library makerspaces that we had to consider,” Wallace said. “Each of which had some unique quality that made them stand out from the others.”

The selected partners include Kelly Delaney at Carnegie Mellon University’s IDeATe, Sarah Hutton at UMass Amherst Libraries’ Digital Media Lab, Danianne Mizzy at UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan Science Library Research Hub & Makerspace, and Amy Vecchione, at Boise State University Library’s Maker Lab. Tara Radniecki at University of Nevada, Reno’s DeLaMare Library Makerspace, has been a partner since the beginning; she helped write the grant proposal and participated in the partnership selection process.

“We here at UTA are so very excited to begin working with our partners,” Wallace said, “and we look forward to collecting the data and feedback that will allow us to further refine and scale this program.”

For more information, Contact:
Martin Wallace
Old broken cornerstone with inscription: Carlisle Military Academy 1906
Early campus cornerstone donated to Special Collections

Early campus cornerstone donated to Special Collections

Finding treasure in your own home is delightful. Nick Kithas experienced that pleasure while his home was being renovated.

Several pieces of broken marble were found. When pieced together, they formed a cornerstone inscribed with "Carlisle Military Academy 1906." While investigating the Academy, he discovered its connection to UTA. He contacted the University, and talked with UTA Archivist Betty Shankle. The end result was that he donated the item to UTA Special Collections, where it is currently displayed, on the sixth floor of the Central Library.

Read full UTA news release: Special piece of UTA history returns to campus

For more information, Contact:
Portrait of Dr. Desiree Henderson, Associate Professor of English, UTA
English instructor invites discussion using banned books

English instructor invites discussion using banned books

Have you read a banned book? Probably.

But in English Professor Desiree Henderson’s Topics in Literature course, that is all you will read. Dr. Henderson frequently makes selections using the American Library Association’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books Lists and their lists of Frequently Challenged Books.
“Banned books are usually great works of literature, so they’re fun to teach,” Henderson said. “But they’re usually banned because they deal with controversial social issues, so that always makes for great conversation amongst students.”
Henderson has discovered that she never has to persuade students to debate issues. And conversations become “very lively.”
“The fact that the books were banned sparks a conversation about why,” Henderson said. “What is it about the subject matter that caused people to respond that way? And that’s always a very generative conversation to have.”
A second reason for selecting banned books for this particular class is that the students are non-native English speakers, and come from widely variable backgrounds. Banned books’ authors and topics represent many countries, cultures, and generations.
“It needs to be accessible to a wide student population,” Henderson said, “and I think banned books are a great way of bringing people who don’t read a lot into the conversation. They tend to connect with the material in a way that they may not with other materials.
The course is very writing intensive, with lots of exercises.
“I’m not evaluating them on their personal stance on controversial issues,” Henderson said. “I want to use those debates to invite them into the conversation as student writers.”


For more information, Contact:
C.D. Walter
#RebelReader Twitter Tournament poster
Become a #RebelReader

Banned Books Week #RebelReader

Your words have the power to fight censorship! Tweet any of the action items listed in the image using the hashtag #RebelReader during Banned Books Week (September 24-30) for a chance to win an array of literary prizes.

Join UTA Libraries in our support of intellectual freedom. Include #utalibraries so we can all join the conversation together!

For more information, Contact:
C.D. Walter
Brightly colored pillows and blankets
How to help Hurricane Harvey evacuees

UTA Libraries coordinate efforts to distribute books and blankets to Hurricane Harvey evacuees

The Texas library family is strong, so when UTA Libraries heard that hundreds of Hurricane Harvey evacuees were coming to Dallas, caring colleagues initiated a library community effort to collect books and make blankets for those in need.

“We want to use our strengths as a library to provide ways for the campus and the DFW community to help our neighbors,” Dean of Libraries Rebecca Bichel said. “By coordinating with other area libraries, we can make a much greater impact.” 

The Libraries’ FabLab will host drop-in learning workshops where the UTA community can make no-sew blankets for pets or people. September workshop times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 p.m., and Thursdays at noon. 

“Students are seeing this devastation in an area they may be familiar with, may even be from,” Gretchen Trkay, department head of Experiential Learning & Undergraduate Research, said. “We want to give students the opportunity to contribute.”

Materials and assembly assistance are provided at the FabLab. The Bedford and Kennedale public libraries are also planning blanket-making sessions, and we hope others will follow. Finished blankets will be distributed to local shelters housing evacuees. 

Entertainment options are limited for evacuees, so UTA Libraries is also collecting gently used books and board games for the shelters. All three libraries on campus will have collection boxes.
Public libraries participating in this book and game collection effort include Bedford and Mansfield. Several other local public library systems have donated books and pledged their support. A complete list of book donation boxes and blanket-making opportunities can be seen at Texas Strong: DFW Libraries for Harvey Relief (

For more information, Contact:
Dean of Libraries Rebecca Bichel