Writers in the Library goes on the road with Jack Kerouac’s biographer

Monday, March 14, Writers in the Library hosts Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe, the definitive biography of Jack Kerouac and Home to War, a history of the Vietnam Veterans movement. The reading will begin at 7 p.m. in the Hodges Library Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

In 1951, Jack Kerouac spent 20 days typing the story of an aimless trek he made across America in one spontaneous, stream-of-conscious burst. The result is the classic novel On the Road, a single-spaced tome written on a 120-foot long scroll of tracing paper.

Kerouac’s 83rd birthday is on Saturday, March 12, and while we can’t spend the day with the godfather of the Beat Generation himself, we can spend a few hours with Nicosia, who dedicated years of his own life piecing together the details of Kerouac’s.

Nicosia conducted 300 interviews and collected thousands of letters and documents to write his nearly 800-page critical analysis of Kerouac’s life and work. The book earned him the Distinguished Young Writer Award from the National Society for Arts and Letters and is generally recognized as the consummate look at Kerouac’s life.

Nicosia is also well-known for his own poetry and fiction, but returned to nonfiction for his 2001 book Home to War, where he interviewed 600 Vietnam Veterans who became active in the antiwar movement or worked as veterans’ advocates. The book garnered great praise, including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. It was re-released in 2004 by Avalon Books with an introduction by Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead.

A freelance journalist, interviewer, and literary critic for the past 27 years, Nicosia has contributed to hundreds of publications, including the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. He is currently at work on a book about the case of death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal and the death penalty in America, as well as a book about the FBI, John Kerry, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

The Writers in the Library series is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the Creative Writing Program of the UT English Department. For further information, please contact Jo Anne Deeken, Head of Technical Services, UT Libraries, at 974-6905 or deeken@aztec.lib.utk.edu, or R.B. Morris, Writer in Residence, UT Libraries, at 974-3004 or rbmorris@utk.edu.

He was a man for whom nothing was secure, not even his name. He had been baptized Jean Louis Kirouac, son of Leo Keroack and Gabrielle L’Evesque. In the rectory of the poor unfinished St. Louis de France Church in Centralville, the nicest French section of Lowell, Massachusetts, his name meant so little that even a priest could carelessly misspell it.

-excerpted from Gerald Nicosia’s biography of Jack Kerouac, Memory Babe

Student Artwork to be Showcased in the Libraries

Students can feature artwork in juried exhibition

UT Libraries invites all current graduate and undergraduate students to promote the cultural diversity and creative expression of our campus by submitting their artwork for the libraries’ first Student Art in the Library juried exhibition. Selected artwork will be exhibited in the Hodges Library Reference room each fall and spring semester.

The exhibit will “give students an opportunity to exhibit their artwork in a professional venue,” Jennifer Beals, Art and Architecture Librarian, said. The displayed works will also help make Hodges Library more visually appealing.

Only two-dimensional works–including drawing, graphic design, printmaking, photography, ceramics or painting–may be entered in the call for submissions. Both undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at UT may submit entries, and registrants must provide an image of the completed work they hope to exhibit. Students do not have to be art majors, but they must have submission forms and at least one digital image of the piece must be received no later than April 11, 2005, for the fall display.

Submitted art will be selected by a reviewing committee, and winners will be notified by April 25, 2005. Artwork selected in the spring will be installed in the Hodges Library Reference room in the summer and remain on view throughout the Fall 2005 semester.

“Hodges Library serves as a center for learning and cultural enrichment for the University of Tennessee community,” Beals said. “The exhibition area in the Reference room creates an area of visual interest, encourages artistic appreciation and provides a venue for our students to display their artwork.”

For more information and the necessary forms for submission, please visit the Student Art in the Library website or contact Jennifer Beals Art and Architecture Librarian.

Libraries to celebrate students for dedicated support

Full-time staff consider student assistants ‘invaluable’

At least one of every three times a patron is assisted at University Libraries, he or she comes in contact with the heart of library service – the student library assistants (SLAs). On behalf of UT Libraries, the Diversity Committee will host the third Student Appreciation Celebration to recognize the dedication and hard work of SLAs on Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Staff Lounge, Room 646 of John C. Hodges Library. The event is open to all library staff and student employees; refreshments will be provided.

Of the 450 faculty and staff at University Libraries, 150 are students. Students are responsible for serving library patrons on the frontline, tending to or organizing items in the library collections or maintaining and updating the libraries media and publications. Many of the full-time staff and faculty regard the student staff members as a vital part of the library – maintaining the level of high-quality service patrons expect.

“We couldn’t run our department without our SLAs,” Sheila Stephens, Media Center library specialist, said. “They keep us going and provide so much support for the services we offer – scheduling rooms, helping patrons with tapes and films. They’re invaluable to us.”

This is the third year of the celebration, which was originally intended to be bi-annual. However, the impact the event makes on the staff as a whole, as well as the students, was the impetus for changing the event to a yearly one, Thura Mack, Training Librarian, said.

“This is a tradition we really want to hold on to and continue to nurture,” Mack said. “The celebration is such a multi-faceted enriching experience for, not only our students, but the entire library community – student patrons, faculty and staff.”

Barbara Dewey, Dean of Libraries, will present certificates to the 24 students who have given two or more years of service to the library at 3 p.m.

“This event honors student library assistants who have been here for two years, but the celebration is open to all students,” Nathalie Hirstov, event organizer and Catalog Librarian, said.

E-Forum: The 21st Century Scholar: Nirvana or Hell?

University of Virginia’s University Librarian, Karin Wittenborg, to discuss the future of scholarship

Join the UT Libraries for the next e-Forum series on Thursday, March 3rd with Karin Wittenborg, University Librarian at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, as she presents The 21st Century Scholar: Nirvana or Hell? The lecture will be held at 3 p.m. in room 605 of Hodges Library and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The U.Va. Library is a leader in digital library initiatives and has a world-renowned rare books and manuscripts collection. Wittenborg will talk about the juxtaposition of these print and digital projects and how the continued importance of access will affect scholarship in the 21st century. She will also recommend ways for scholars to change a problematic the scholarly communications culture. Her talk will address the influence of Google Scholar and Google digitization projects upon access to scholarship, libraries, and service.

Wittenborg has been University Librarian at the University of Virginia since September 1993. Prior to working at U.Va, she held professional positions at UCLA, Stanford, MIT, and the State University of New York. She serves on the Advisory Council for Stanford University Libraries/Academic Information Resources, Brown University.

Writers in the Library: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright

Join us Monday, March 7 for an evening of poetry with Charles Wright, to be held at the University Club at 7 p.m.

Wright, a Pulitzer prize-winning poet and current professor of English at the University of Virginia, was born in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, and grew up in Kingsport. After earning a degree in history at Davidson College, Wright entered the military and began writing poetry while serving in Italy with the US Army.

This special Writers in the Library event is co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee Library Friends, and is free and open to the public. This event will be held at the University Club at the corner of Kingston Pike and Neyland Drive at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 7.

“I think you could call him the Robert Frost or T.S. Eliot of the South,” said RB Morris, who is the current Writer-in-Residence at the Libraries. “His poetry retains the good Southern heart and is in touch with the nature and culture of the South.”

After finishing his military service, Wright earned an MFA at the University of Iowa. He taught at the University of California at Irvine before moving to UVA in 1983. Wright has published over twenty books of poetry and poetic translations, and much of his poetry has earned the highest accolades. Country Music: Selected Early Poems won the National Book Award in 1983; Black Zodiac won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Pulitzer Prize, among others. Wright has also been a Fulbright scholar, and has won Guggenheim and Ingram Merrill fellowships.

“I am so pleased to be able to help bring Charles Wright to UT and have him read,” said Morris. “What surprised me most was that he hadn’t been to Knoxville before and wanted to come. It is truly our good fortune.”

Dew-dangled, fresh-cut lawn grass will always smell like a golf course
Fairway to me, Saturday morning, Chuck Ross and I
Already fudging our scores down,

happy as mockingbirds in deep weeds,


The South Fork of the Holston River
Slick as a nickel before its confluence behind our backs
At Rotherwood with the North Fork’s distant, blurred thunder,
Our rounds in the seventies always including mulligans,
Nudged lies, “found” lost balls, some extraordinary shots

And that never-again-to-be-repeated

teen-age false sense of attainment.

-excerpted from “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”, a poem by Charles Wright, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Black Zodiac

The Writers in the Library series is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the Creative Writing Program of the UT English Department. For further information, please contact Jo Anne Deeken, Head of Technical Services, UT Libraries, at 974-6905 or deeken@aztec.lib.utk.edu, or R.B. Morris, Writer in Residence, UT Libraries, at 974-3004 or rbmorris@utk.edu.

Writers in the Library Features Authors from Knoxville Bound

Authors from the new Knoxville Bound anthology will read at Writers in the Library on Monday, February 21 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Just over a year ago, Knoxville author Judy Loest heard a story on NPR about French Quarter Fiction, a new anthology made up entirely of stories set in New Orleans.

Although Knoxville is much smaller, not as infamous, and not as old, Loest thought, “We can do that, too.” Soon, a call for submissions went out and the proverbial ball started rolling.

Loest, along with Cumberland Avenue Revisited author Jack Rentfro and a collection of Knoxville Writers’ Guild volunteers, sifted through hundreds of submissions. The result is a hefty but elegantly designed volume that succeeds in wrapping its literary arms around a city.

To some contributors, Knoxville is a big, dangerous city, a bewildering Gomorrah of panhandlers, drug dealers, cross-dressers. To others, it’s all interstate exits and chain stores; or a slow-paced place to encounter quaint country folk.

Circulation receives much-needed desk-lift

New desk to serve patrons better with accessibility, approachability

After weeks of construction and remodeling, the new Circulation desk is now complete and ready to better serve patrons.

The two-level desk now accommodates disabled patrons with ease, as the previous desk set up was not wheelchair-accessible.

“We were always concerned that the original desk was not friendly to our patrons with disabilities,” GiGi Bayne, Circulation staff member, said. “It was awkward to use, and we like to give all of our patrons the same high quality of service.”

Another benefit to the new design is the increased lighting, which makes the desk and staff easier to see and more approachable.

While the next-generation desk assists patrons better, it also serves the Circulation staff better. The open design gives staff members more maneuvering room and two back-up desks allow more staff to assist patrons if things get busy.

“We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from staff and patrons,” Bayne said. “This really makes it easier for patrons to have access to our services.”

DART Machine Installed at Hodges, Ag-Vet Med Libraries

Students can now add funds to their All-Star accounts with ease

Purchasing frustrations will ease considerably with the installation of two new DART machines at John C. Hodges and Pendergrass Agriculture Veterinary Medicine Libraries.

Debit Access Retail Terminals, or DART, machines allow students to make cash deposits to their All-Star accounts. These accounts can be used for Pay-for-Print or for purchases at Starbucks or the Bookstore. AllStar monies can also be at the University Center, laundry services in University Housing, campus vending machines and to pay for a parking lot hang-tag or parking citations.

“We are very pleased to be able to provide this convenient service to students, faculty, and staff,” Jill Keally, Assistant Dean of Libraries, said. “The Cyber Cafe has very late hours, and the Ag-Vet Med Library provides a central location for the machine on the Ag campus.”