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Sara Davidson Squibb

Library Staff Creates Book Club in Anticipation of Mark Arax Event

Tue, September 19, 2023 9:20 AM

Mark Arax’s The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across the Central Valley is what we’ve been reading and discussing in anticipation of Arax’s September 28th visit. An award-winning author and journalist, Arax chronicles the history of California’s agriculture in The Dreamt Land weaving together historical resources and hundred of interviews.

Group photo of Staff holding booksBook cover
From left to right (front row): Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, Sara Davidson Squibb, Sunni Nelson, Krista Kremerskotter, Bronwen Maxson, and Nathaniel Garcia.
From left to right (Zoom screen in background): Olivia Olivares, Demitra Borrero, and Erin Mutch.


UC Merced students, staff and faculty can find a copy of the book in our UC Library Search catalog

Don't miss out on the event!  Mark your calendars for Historical Memory, Policy, and the Future of Water in the Central Valley: A Conversation with Mark Arax and Ellen Hanak.

Registration is required as space is limited.

UC Merced Library Welcomes Bronwen Maxson as Head of Research & Learning Services

Tue, August 15, 2023 5:05 PM

UC Merced Library Welcomes Bronwen Maxson as Head of Research & Learning Services

Published August 15, 2023
Author: Sara Davidson Squibb
Image of Bronwen Maxson with short brown curly hair and a blue florap print top staning in front of a row of books on shelves
Bronwen Maxson joined the UC Merced Library August 1, 2023 as Head of Research & Learning Services. In this leadership role, Bronwen will be working with the R&LS team to build students’ information literacy (IL) competencies, support researchers in finding and using information resources, and engage with our campus community to increase awareness of library services.
Most recently, Bronwen was the Coordinator of Undergraduate Engagement and Instructional Services and a subject specialist for Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Studies, and Linguistics at the University of Oregon Libraries. In her coordinator role, she increased the UO Libraries’ capacity to reach students with library services information and IL instruction through collaboration and relationship-building with both her library colleagues and campus partners, including Residential Assistants (RAs) and First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs). 
Her education and work experience include a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Prior to UO, she held librarian positions at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, and Colorado College Tutt Library. In these roles, she provided reference services, taught course instruction, offered subject expertise, developed collections, worked with graduate students, and engaged in digital scholarship/scholarly communication initiatives.
Bronwen has made significant contributions to the larger profession through her work with the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) and her scholarly work has been recognized by the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) in their top 20 lists in 2021 and 2022. LIRT is affiliated with the Association of American Libraries’ (ALA).
Just a couple weeks into this position, we sat down with Bronwen to ask a few questions.
Before librarianship, you worked for a number of years as a paralegal in immigration law offices. How has this experience influenced your work as a librarian?
Working in a law office one-on-one with people showed me that I enjoyed teaching individuals how to do things -- like retrieve public records or organize their own information. I considered that experience when looking for a future career path. I also learned that I enjoyed working with people of various social and cultural backgrounds, so I have tried to carry that work forward in librarianship by looking for opportunities to work with international students and students whose backgrounds differ from my own.
At UO, you also served as a Library Liaison for Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Studies, and Linguistics. How has your background supported your work in these subject areas? 
I had a BA degree in Spanish Language and Literature, traveled a bit in Latin America, and studied abroad in Spain. I became fluent in Spanish and enjoyed the challenge of communicating and doing academic work in other languages. Combining this background with my paralegal experience in Colorado, where I worked with many Latino/a/x/e people from different countries, led me to look for opportunities to use the Spanish language in my career. Along the way, I took a course called Portuguese for the Spanish Speaker and am still working on my Portuguese skills. 
I found out about the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) organization when I was in my graduate program for Library and Information Science. This is the home for all Latin American Studies librarians - not just librarians in acquisitions. SALALM has been a welcoming and supportive professional organization to help me learn all aspects of Latin Americanist librarianship. In SALALM, I found a community where I could both contribute and learn a lot.  
You’ve mentioned SALALM as a professional home. Can you tell us more about your work with SALALM?
I have been very involved in SALALM in the past 10 years in both leadership roles and as an active member. Early on I was elected as a co-chair of the Research & Instruction Services sub-committee and chaired the Acquisitions Committee for a two-year term. As an active SALALM member I have served as the social media coordinator, participated in the marginalized people and ideas sub-group, and contributed to the conference planning task force this past year. Most recently, I was elected as a Member-at-Large and serve on the Executive Committee. 
What would you identify as a professional contribution that you most value?
In my librarian career, I did not set out to be a researcher and get published, but it has become an enjoyable part of my work. I’m proud of my publications. It is exciting to build on the ideas of others to create new knowledge and best practices.
What is your first impression of the UC Merced Library?
What has struck me the most is how warm and collegial everyone is in the Library. 

Have you been able to explore this area in the short amount of time you’ve been here?

Yes, I’ve done some exploring and look forward to doing more. My dad came to help me move to Merced. While he was here, we used his US National Parks Pass to make my first visit to Yosemite National Park. It was gorgeous. I look forward to going back. I also recently ventured downtown into Merced’s Antique Mall and found a metal mermaid that I’m using as a doorstop. 

What are you looking forward to in this role as Head of Research & Learning Services?

I’m really curious to know more about how research skills are integrated into the undergraduate experience on this campus and where the opportunities are for strengthening and expanding the educational services that the Library can provide. I am interested in figuring out which things are working well and which things I can bring my strengths to to improve. I am looking forward to getting into the details and starting to puzzle out where we can be strategic. 

I am also looking forward to getting to know the students here. They were super impressive at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium which I was able to attend during my first week on the job. So, I am excited to figure out what we can do together.

We are excited to have Bronwen join our Library staff. Please join us in welcoming her to UC Merced.

10 Years at the UC Merced Library: Samantha Fort

Fri, July 28, 2023 1:30 PM

10 Years at the UC Merced Library: Samantha Fort

Author: Sara Davidson Squibb
Published: July 28, 2023
Woman with long curly hair sitting with arms folded on a desk with a computer on the desk







Samantha Fort is our Technology Services Coordinator providing excellent customer service to our staff and ensuring that the Library’s technology is working for all library visitors. We recently recognized Samantha for her 10 year anniversary at the Library. 
As our Technology Services Coordinator, what does a typical day look like for you in the Library?
While there is no typical day, the majority of my time is spent trouble-shooting tech issues with staff and student workstations and training student assistants to do similar work.
What do you enjoy most about your position in the Library?
I really enjoy the interactions with the staff. We have a great group of career and student staff. I like the fact that our technology student assistants are friendly, open to helping anybody, and willing to learn.  
What are you anticipating in this upcoming academic year?
We will be deploying new machines for labs on the 3rd floor west and plan to have updated public workstations available. I’m looking forward to bringing on a couple more students this fall semester for a team of four. I can’t wait to meet all the Library’s new student assistants on training day in August.
What professional development opportunities have been valuable to you?
Attending conferences that showcase technology has been important. This is where I hear more about up-and-coming technologies and rub shoulders with people who are also providing customer service in tech-rich environments.
Samantha is both known for her fabulous baking skills and her amazing costumes at Halloween.
What is your favorite dessert to make and the best costume you’ve ever designed? 
My favorite dessert to make is brownie pudding because of the science behind it. At the end, the brownies are on top and the pudding is on the bottom. It’s magic. However, my most requested dessert is a Baileys Cheesecake. My parents even requested this for their 50th Anniversary Party.
In terms of best costume, I did a pretty good Mad Hatter. 
Woman dressed in orange wig, white face makeup and blue eyeshadow wearing a top hat Woman dressed in orange wig, white face makeup and blue eyeshadow wearing a top hat
Photographs Courtesy of Samantha Fort

Congratulations Samantha on your 10 year anniversary with the Library. We all benefit from your tech expertise and strong customer service ethic!

UC Merced University Librarian Haipeng Li Receives Prestigious 2023 Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) Outstanding Library Leadership Award

Wed, July 5, 2023 4:20 PM

UC Merced University Librarian Haipeng Li Receives Prestigious 2023 Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) Outstanding Library Leadership Award

Headshot of Haipeng Li wearing a dark gray suite, white dress shirt, blue tie, he is wearing glasses

July 5, 2023

UC Merced University Librarian Haipeng Li was recently recognized for his outstanding contributions to the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) with the organization’s 2023 Outstanding Library Leadership Award. CALA’s Award Committee conferred this honor based on Haipeng’s “exceptional leadership qualities, visionary mindset, and the ability to inspire and guide others.”

Throughout his career, Haipeng has been an advocate for Chinese American Librarians Association through many initiatives and activities he has been leading or engaged in. Over 25 years ago, Haipeng joined CALA at the recommendation of a colleague he met during his participation in the Leadership and Career Development Program sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Established in 1973, and one of the American Libraries Association (ALA) affiliates, CALA offered opportunities to network, develop leadership skills, and participate in professional development. CALA was also a forum to support and advocate for Chinese-American librarians in North America, some of whom faced bias and prejudice at their own institutions. CALA provided a place to discuss and address these workplace concerns.

As a CALA life member, Haipeng chaired various committees before becoming the Association’s President in 2006 followed by a five-year term as Executive Director and Board member. During his presidency, he spearheaded the CALA 21st Century Librarian Seminar Series, along with other CALA leaders. This program promoted partnerships and collaboration between librarians in China, later to include Hong Kong and Taiwan, with those in the United States and Canada. A series of trips were made by CALA and ALA members to partner institutions in China where hands-on training sessions and public forums were offered on topics related to librarianship. In one single year, there were over 1,000 participants in China, and CALA membership grew 20% during a time when other library organizations in ALA were losing members during an economic downturn.  

Strong U.S./China relations at the time encouraged cultural exchange. Visits of Chinese and U.S. delegations to each other’s countries resulted in the signing of an MOU by the Minister of Culture from China and the Head of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in a formal ceremony at the Library of Congress. Three-year grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) supported this initiative and was known as the Think Globally, Act Globally project.

The award calls attention to Haipeng’s EDI work in CALA though his commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion which started at Oberlin where he initiated and chaired a diversity committee. The committee secured an IMLS grant to support a DEI internship focused on recruiting students from diverse backgrounds into librarianship. Oberlin was one of the first liberal arts college libraries to launch that type of internship program and was recognized for this work by the Association for College & Research Libraries (ACRL). Further funding came from the Mellon Foundation to extend this initiative to additional liberal arts colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Beyond CALA, Haipeng has also co-chaired the steering committee (2012) for the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color conference. The conference held every four years is an important professional home for many librarians of color.

This is not the first time that Haipeng Li has won a CALA’s prestigious award. This latest award can be attributed to his sustained vision and extensive contributions to CALA. He is quick to note that this award is not only the result of individual effort but also has involved the dedication of talented colleagues and teamwork to envision and implement these impactful initiatives.


*Link to Original PDF press release outstanding_library_leadership_-_haipeng_li_58_.pdf

Jim Dooley Celebrates 20 Years at UC Merced

Fri, May 26, 2023 4:40 PM

Jim Dooley Celebrates 20 Years at UC Merced

Author: Sara Davidson Squibb
Published: May 26, 2023
Jim Dooley first started at UC Merced in May 2003, over two years before the campus welcomed its first undergraduate class. He was hired as the Head of Technical Services with additional responsibility for the University Archives. Before coming to UC Merced, Jim was the head of Monographic Cataloging at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.
As Head of Collection Services, Jim is responsible for the acquisition of diverse collections in support of research and teaching. His team in technical services also ensures that these resources are discoverable in UC Library Search. A large portion of Jim’s work is at the UC Libraries level where he has served extensively on a variety of committees related to collections, transformative agreements, and technical services. Most recently he chaired the Shared Content Leadership Group (SCLG) for a two-year term. This group is largely responsible for identifying resources of benefit to all campuses and determining how these might be funded. UC Libraries are known for their collaborative collection development which expands information access for UC researchers and minimizes costs through consortial licenses. Under Jim’s leadership SCLG has had an increasing influence on open access conversations and negotiations. He has been a strong contributor in the UC Libraries’ efforts to transform scholarly publishing.
Beyond the UC Libraries, Jim has also provided input into the strategic directions of organizations such as HathiTrust (HT) and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), organizations that are important for increased access to information resources. He has also chaired multiple committees over the years under the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services  which is part of the American Library Association (ALA). Jim has been a regular presenter at the Charleston Conference which brings together librarian, vendor, and publisher perspectives to discuss scholarly communications.
Fun fact: Jim worked for almost a decade as a production supervisor at the Theatre Department at the University of California, Riverside and has both an M.A. in Drama and M.F.A. in Theatre.
Congrats Jim on this 20-year anniversary!

Valley Life: The Summer Mural Completes the Four Seasons of Yosemite

Fri, November 18, 2022 11:25 AM

Valley Life: The Summer Mural Completes the Four Seasons of Yosemite

Inspired by nature, Artist Bill Poulson first conceived of The Four Seasons of Yosemite in 1986. After closing his stained-glass studio in Maui, he arrived in Yosemite National Park (YNP) that September and embarked on drawing numerous scenes over the course of a few weeks. These drawings informed his finalized sketches for each of the four murals.

That same year, he started the fall mural known as Tissiack, the Ahwahneechee American Indian Tribe's name for Half Dome. He completed this stunning mural in 1988 with Half Dome gleaming in brilliant oranges. Tissiack premiered at YNP's Ahwahnee Hotel in 1989 and was a featured exhibit at the Visitor Center in 1990.

Twenty-years later (2008), Poulson completed the second mural representing Winter -- titled The Chief. The mural of monochromatic colors includes a full moon over snowy terrain with Cathedral Spires on one side of the valley, El Capitan on the other, and a bobcat looking down on showshoe hares. For a time, both the Fall and Winter murals were displayed in Ahwahnee's Great Room, back-to-back, in a large custom lightbox built by Poulson who is also a journeyman carpenter.

To start the Spring mural, Poulson needed to create working space in his Arnold studio as each mural stands 14 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Poulson coordinated with the concessionaire at YNP to rotate the Fall and Winter murals in the Cliff Room at the Yosemite Lodge. Eventually, these required an alternate location, due to change in concessionaires, and UC Merced was identified as a potential host. In spring 2016, the Winter mural moved to the UC Merced Library from the Cliff Room and later that year, the Fall mural followed.

With space to work, Poulson finished the Spring mural in 2019. It features large, vivid dogwood flowers and a creek in riveting white, blues, and greens. This view is visible a half mile beyond the park's first tunnel.

Poulson completed the final mural of this series in 2022. Valley Life represents Summer with a view of Yosemite Valley looking west toward El Capitan (right) and Sentinel Rock (left). Poulson wished to call attention to American Indians and their daily activities before settlers arrived. It features a brilliant blue sky and the sweeping height of granite faces so deeply associated with the park. The Summer mural completes the four seasons, and all are on display at UC Merced's Library on the 3rd floor. The UC Merced Library is pleased to host these beautifully crafted murals.

For each mural, Poulson transformed a 12x18 inch pencil sketch into a water color, sometimes painting multiple water colors before confirming the final image. He magnified each water color, using a projector, to trace the top and bottom of each panel (each mural consists of seven 2x8 foot panels) onto manila paper. To create the stained-glass, he employed both leaded and copper foiling techniques. The leaded process involves cutting strips of lead into desired lengths and moving from one corner to another, placing glass as you go. Copper foiling allows for a thinner lead line and greater flexibility as glass is wrapped with copper tape.

Poulson was first introduced to stained glass by an artist and good friend while working as a carpenter at a cabinet shop in Sutter, CA. He read a book about working with stained glass and initially started cutting clear glass as part of the learning process. His love of drawing formed the basis of his own designs. His first stained-glass window projects, displayed at a local gift shop, sold quickly which inspired him to start his stained-glass business in Hawaii (1978). It was here that he created a stained glass dome, 12 feet in diameter, to place on top of his first glass studio; he took a welding class in order to build the framework himself.

The W. Poulson studio is located in Arnold, CA where he crafts commissioned projects of stained glass and custom furniture.

►Watch the ABC30 News story featuring the UC Merced Library and the Four Seasons of Yosemite murals (Facebook)


Valley Life, Summer mural completing the Four Seasons of Yosemite Murals

Four Seasons of Yosemite Murals (Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring), UC Merced Library's 3rd Floor


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