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CU at the Libraries is a podcast where information becomes knowledge through storytelling.These collections of stories highlight the students and educators who make the University Libraries the heart of our campus.


Ep. 16 - Cataloging the library experience, one subject heading at a time

When we think of librarians, we think of the people ready to answer your reference questions, visit and instruct your classes, help you locate source material and curate the collections you rely on. “What I do is mostly considered public services,” said Art and Architecture Librarian Alex Watkins. In order to use the libraries effectively, Watkins relies on catalogers like Chris Long, whose work has a huge impact on how all of us use the libraries. Catalogers are the behind the scenes librarians who work to make books and resources easier to find using search tools. You might say, we sort of unearth the resources," said Resources Description Services team lead. On this episode of CU at the Libraries, Alex and Chris talk about the effort that goes into the partnership between subject librarians and catalogers. They’ll debunk stereotypes and dive into topics like, why it’s so hard to make changes to classification systems, a hot button issue in the world of library science. Read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 15 - Reimagining community during COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Colorado, the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries had to close its doors to our community, including ourselves. When the pandemic progressed, we needed to innovate to provide the services and resources that our community relies on. We had to answer the question, ‘How do we provide that quintessential college experience of hanging out in the library, when access to our spaces were limited? On this episode of CU at the Libraries, we reflect on the important decisions we made as a result of the pandemic, not all of them popular, and we share how we reimagined our community in the time of COVID-19. Read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 14 - Anti-racism resource guides and academic libraries

In June 2020, in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black people and people of color, the University Libraries, like many others, felt the strong need to take action. A group of librarians came together to create an anti-racism resources guide. Education and Ethnic Studies Librarian Linds Roberts, Collections Assessment Librarian Arthur Aguilera and Librarian Archivist Deborah Hollis were part of the group that produced this guide. On this episode of CU at the Libraries, Linds, Arthur and Debbie reflect on creating the guide, along with the concept of neutrality in academic libraries through the lens of the American Library Association's statement, “while libraries are non-partisan, they are not indifferent.Read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 13 - Colorado's premiere Rock 'n' Roll photographer

Dan Fong has always found himself in the right place at the right time. A CU Boulder alumnus, Fong is known for capturing the heart of the golden age of Colorado's rock history from all angles. Last year, the University Library's Archives acquired over 140 photographs covering Dan Fong's extensive career. These images include shots of Dan's work for The Rolling StonesThe Who and The Doobie Brothers. There are photos from shows at CU Boulder, like Joni Mitchell playing the Field House and bands like Mountain and Zephyr rocking out on the steps of Norlin Library, for a crowd that completely engulfed Norlin Quad, if you can believe it. Read the transcript and see photos mentioned in this episode.

Ep. 12 - The importance of open government

This is a special audio documentary that’s part of Opentober, a month-long celebration of open access at the University Libraries—and a reminder that we as citizens have the right to an open and responsive system of government for the welfare and wellbeing of the communities they represent. Read a transcript of this episode.

Ep. 11 - Information and media literacy in 2020

In 2020, we have real-time access to a historic amount of information with millions of active websites and billions of active online users. The issue is not about the quantity of information, but about the quality. Who is verifying content and how do we identify reliable sources? Read a transcript of this episode.

Ep. 10 - In conversation with Dean of the Libraries

Join your host, Claire Woodcock, and our special guest, Dean of Libraries, Robert H. McDonald, in closing out our first season. In this episode Robert and Claire will discuss the University Libraries new strategic plan, our values, and the future of both online education and academic libraries. You can also read a transcript of this episode. We're so happy to have brought you this season of CU at the Libraries. Thanks to all our fans!

Ep. 9 - The man behind Folsom Field

Behind every place are the people who have given it its meaning, and those finding a sense of place in legacy. In the Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives, there are boxes upon boxes of letters, photographs, and documents from the Folsom family, a familiar name around this campus.

This episode of CU at the Libraries takes on the father of CU Football and law professor, Coach Fred Gorham Folsom and how the stadium got its name. You can also read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 8 - What is Digital Humanities

If you were asked, "What is Digital Humanities," how would you respond? If you're unsure or downright don't know, this is where this week's host, Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara, starts, by defining Digital Humanities (DH). In this episode, Nickoal will explore with you the many different flavors of DH around the world with Dr. Vilja Hulden, Conny Cassidy, a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department, and Phil White. You can also read the transcript of this episode. 

Ep. 7 - Exploring the Folklore Music Map of the United States

Our host, Naomi Heiser and her guest, Thomas Riis, uncover the background of the Folk Music Map of the United States and what its creator Dorothea Dix Lawrence wanted to achieve. They will also discuss instruments in the folk music tradition, why variations leave room for the individuality that exists in folk music, and finally, the influence folk music has had on other musical genres and into the modern music. You can also read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 6 - The gift that keeps on giving

After decades of wanting to help tell this story, it was in the year 2000 when the University Libraries’ Archives created the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School Archival Project, an exploration of the CU Boulder training site that served over 1,000 language officers during World War II. Their mission was to document and preserve the Navy Language School’s legacy by gathering materials of the student and sensei experiences during wartime.

These are stories that could have remained scattered and lost forever. ​You can also read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 5 - Open Access at CU Boulder

Imagine a clear, plexiglass cube. It looks like a giant donation box, It’s about 5 by 8 feet, to give you a sense of scale. You can put money in, but once you do, you can’t get it back out. The box contains 10 million dollars cash, approximately how much the CU Boulder Libraries spend on subscription access to scholarly research every year. And every year, providing basic access to research and learning materials gets more and more expensive. How much bigger can we let this giant box get before something has to give? Now, imagine if we were able to take that money in the box and give everyone in the world permanent, free access to our research? Open Access is a movement to create better visibility and impact for researchers, as well as a more equitable landscape for the authors and readers of scholarly literature globally. ​You can also read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 4 - Is it okay to write in books?

You know when you’re in a bookstore, and you’re flipping through used copies of a book and it’s all marked up with notes, doodles, and highlighting? This is marginalia. Our host this week, CU Boulder Libraries Conservator Hillary Morgan, fixes books for a living. So she works with a lot of marginalia because, in libraries, this is often considered a form of damage. By day, she’s using a chemical sponge to remove markings in a copy of Beowolf from circulating collections. But after work, Morgan can be found reading and marking up her own copy of Beowolf, and loving it. In this episode we talk to Sean Babbs, Deborah Hollis, Adrienne Wagner and Kalyani Fernando to discuss whether or not it’s okay to write in books. You can also read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 3 - What is PASCAL, anyway?

In the 1980's, it became clear that the University Libraries would need to rethink its ideas around space and storage. The Libraries were no longer just involved in storing information but producing information. But, if we didn’t have our books on-hand, what if someone, someday, needed that series, and we didn’t have it? That's where PASCAL enters the picture. Your host, Claire Woodcock, speaks with Courtney McDonald, Brice Austin, Ashlyn Velte and PASCAL’s manager, Michael Kelty, to show you how your PASCAL request got into your hands. You can also read the transcript of this episode.

Ep. 2 - Living Library 

What if we told you that a book could be a person, sitting directly across from you. They could tell you their story, like an audiobook, only this book can answer your questions right on the spot. In this episode, we're discussing the Living Library events at the University Libraries and sharing the story from one of our books. Your hosts are Megan Welsh and Lindsay Roberts. You can also read the transcript of this episode.  

Ep. 1 - CU at Norlin Library

In this episode, your host, Claire Woodcock, takes you on a quick audio tour of Norlin Library. Listen here to uncover some of the University of Colorado Boulder campus' best kept secrets. We'll talk to Carl Stewart, building manager for Norlin, Alex Watkins, Art & Architecture Librarian, and Freddy Carey, History & Philosophy librarian. You can also read the transcript of this episode. 

Trailer - CU at the Libraries