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University Libraries E-Newsletter

January 2017

Providing diverse information resources, personalized services, and creative learning spaces, the Libraries connect with students, staff and faculty on a daily basis. This e-newsletter features upcoming events as well as highlights on various new library services and sources.

From the University Librarian - Kevin Butterfied


This semester is off to a fast start. The library staff returned refreshed from a long holiday break only to dive deeply into teaching and research support.

We welcome Jonathan Tuttle, Special Formats Cataloging Librarian, to our staff. Jonathan joins us from the College of William & Mary where he was Cataloging Librarian at the Wolfe Law Library.

We look forward to the 23d Annual Edward C. and Mary S. Peple Library Lecture on February 1. Our speaker will be Matthew Desmond, author of this year’s "One Book, One Campus” selection, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

Finally we continue to work on a new strategic plan for the University Libraries, following closely upon the work of the larger campus planning efforts.

Through these efforts we seek to embody our vision for the libraries to inspire intellectual engagement, cultivate diversity, and elevate the personal and academic potential of our community by becoming a preeminent liberal arts university library.

Reckoning with Redlining

redline-graphicThe most recent addition to the Digital Scholarship Lab's historical atlas American Panorama, "Mapping Inequality" demonstrates how private and federally supported redlining real-estate practices during the Depression era contributed to racial and wealth inequalities in American cities in the 1930s, with ramifications that continue nearly a century later. The project introduces audiences to the practice of redlining: how maps were used to inscribe inequality on the built environment and the racialized logic used in government documents to block people of color and immigrants from fair and equitable access to mortgage and other real estate financing. "Mapping Inequality" presents all the maps of the more than 150 maps and thousands of neighborhoods surveys produced in the 1930s by a New Deal agency called the Home Owners' Loan Corporation.

Working with local bankers and real estate experts, HOLC collected data on housing stock, sales and rental history, and, crucially, the racial, ethnic, and class identities of residents to assess mortgage risk on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. Assigning each neighborhood a grade on a scale of "A", "best" neighborhoods that were safe investments, to "D", "hazardous" neighborhoods that were deemed unwarranted risks, they created color-coded maps to visualize the landscape of assessed risk. Race and ethnicity were with very few exceptions definitive factors in assigning grades. Neighborhoods inhabited by recent immigrants from eastern and southern Europe and African Americans almost always receiving "C" and "D" grades. The explanation provided why a middle-class neighborhood in Tacoma was assigned a "D" grade illustrates this racial logic: "Three highly respected Negro families own homes and live in the middle block of this area facing Verde Street. While very much above the average of their race, it is quite generally recognized by Realtors that their presence seriously detracts from the desirability of their immediate neighborhood." Labeling neighborhoods as risky investments had devastating consequences, effectively cutting many communities of color off from homeownership, arguably the single most important route to familial wealth building in twentieth-century America.

"Mapping Inequality" aims to help spark and inform vital conversations about inequality in American cities past and present. National Geographic named it one of the "best maps of 2016", Slate one of the "Five Fascinating Digital History Projects We loved in 2016", and Forbes one of the "Five GIS Projects that Are Changing the Way We Understand Racism".

- Rob Nelson, Director, Digital Scholarship Lab

Student Publishing at the University of Richmond: Building an Archive

messenger-logoDid you know that University of Richmond students continue to produce at least two print publications? Students contribute, write, edit, design and perform all necessary tasks to publish and print The Messenger and Forum Magazine. The Messenger is the University of Richmond Student Literary Arts Magazine and it is usually printed once per academic year. Forum Magazine is an award-winning student publication of the University of Richmond, printing five times each year. Its mission is “to create an impactful, revealing and balanced magazine designed and reported with students in mind.”

forum-logoBoth magazines have their own websites if you are interested in joining their staff or learning about their submissions process for future issues. However, if you are interested in reading older issues that are no longer available in print nor on their websites, or you missed picking up your own copy of Forum Magazine or The Messenger, you can read back issues of either of these publications online through the library’s website. Boatwright Memorial Library has included archival issues of both publications in the UR Scholarship Repository. We are continuing to upload content from these publications into the repository and we continue to be impressed with the work our students produce.

- Crista Laprade, Digital Asset Management System Administrator



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