Libraries will host STEM symposium for high school students, March 29

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The University of Tennessee Libraries is hosting the second annual Big Orange STEM Symposium (B.O.S.S.): High School Outreach, Saturday, March 29, 2014, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the John C. Hodges Library on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus.

The symposium is aimed at high school students who are interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. High school students at all levels are invited to participate.

The symposium brings together STEM-related departments and centers from across the UT Knoxville campus and the Knoxville community to provide high school students with a learning experience that includes guidance in career exploration and planning from a UT Career Services counselor. The symposium will allow students to explore STEM fields in a holistic way, giving them a taste of various disciplines so they will be more informed and better prepared to decide which area they would like to study.

Two panel discussions — one featuring current undergraduate students and another with STEM professors — will offer insights into the university experience and how to succeed in STEM studies. Students also will have the opportunity to meet researchers working in STEM fields. In breakout sessions, they will learn about strategies and techniques for doing undergraduate research through exposure to the scientific process, resources, and technologies. At a STEM Fair, they can learn about STEM organizations in our region and unique opportunities at UT Knoxville.

Representatives from the Knoxville community include Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Texas Instruments, Biology in a Box, and Dade Moeller. The UT departments of math, soil science, geography, chemistry, and medicine also will participate.

For more information about the symposium and registration, please visit the website at Free lunch and goody bags will be provided for attendees who register before March 21, 2014. On-site registration will be available.

Ron Rash: A Unique Appalachian Voice

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Ron Rash

View a recording of this event

The Library Society of UT Knoxville and the Friends of the Knox County Library are proud to sponsor Ron Rash on March 4th at 7:30 PM at the East Tennessee History Center. The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  Visit the to register. This lecture is part of the Knox County Library’s Wilma Dykeman lecture series. Rash will be introduced by Jim Stokely, the son of Wilma Dykeman and the president of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy foundation.

The Appalachia of Ron Rash is the land we are familiar with: the beautiful mountains, the small hamlets, family farms and the legacies of the past.  But to Rash, it is also the land of methamphetamine addicts, environmental destruction, ignorance and sudden, violent death.  His second novel, Saints at the River, opens with a tourist family picnicking alongside a picturesque mountain creek, standard territory for regional novelists.  Within a few minutes, however, a young girl is pulled under by the current and drowned, her body trapped under the rushing water by hydraulic force.  Thus is ignited a showdown between the girl’s family, political friends, protectors of the tourist industry and fervent environmentalists.  In The World Made Straight, the young man at the center of the novel is caught, literally, in an animal trap as he attempts to raid a marijuana grower’s crop and, figuratively, between his inherent intelligence and potential and the downward tug of ambitionless friends, a doubting father and his own bad impulses.  Interwoven in the contemporary story line is the Civil War era journal kept by a doctor that recounts the tremendous struggles that existed in the mountain region during the conflict that not only divided families and communities at the time but created divisions that continue to resonate.

Rash’s first book, a collection of short stories entitled The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth was published in 1994.  In the twenty years since then he has written four collections of poetry, four more short story collections, five novels and a children’s book.  His work has earned him numerous awards including the prestigious Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for Burning Bright and the 2004 Fiction Book of the Year for Saints at the River (given by both the Southern Book Critics and the Southeastern Booksellers Association).  He has twice been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was awarded the James Still Award by the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Rash writes about the world he has always known.  His family has lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains since the mid-eighteen century.  A native of Boling Springs, North Carolina –about thirty miles west of Charlotte – Rash graduated from Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs and then from Clemson University.  He holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Ron Rash’s life may be about to change.  A film version of his most ambitious novel, Serena, is set to be released in April of this year.  Directed by Danish film maker Susanne Bier and starring perennial Oscar nominees Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, the film was primarily filmed in the Czech Republic with some footage shot in the Cataloochee Valley in Haywood County, NC.   A second film based on a Rash novel is also in the works.  A smaller scale production, “The World Made Straight,” based on Rash’s novel of the same name, is being filmed in Buncombe and Madison counties, NC and features actors Jeremy Irvine (“War Horse”) and Noah Wyle (“E.R.”).

The novel Serena has received very positive reviews and was a New York Times Bestseller.   While Rash claims not to read reviews of his work if he can help it, his most recent short story collection, Nothing Gold Can Stay, has garnered reviews any author would be proud of.  USA Today stated, “A terrible beauty, to use Yeat’s poetic phrase, colors many of Ron Rash’s stories filled with violence, dark humor and surprise endings.  His prose is spare, clean and often haunting.”

“Sharecropper’s Son” John O. Hodges to Read at UT Library

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Hodges_Delta_smallJohn O. Hodges will read at UT’s Writers in the Library Monday, February 10th at 7 pm in the John C. Hodge’s Library Auditorium. The reading is free and open to the public.

John O. Hodges is a former UT faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies, and he served as chair of African and African-American Studies from 1997 to 2002. In his time at UT, Hodges has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by the UT National Alumni Association and has won several other awards, including the Lorayne Lester Award for distinguished service to the university. Hodge’s new book, Delta Fragments: The Recollections of a Sharecropper’s Son, details his experiences as a youth growing up in the Mississippi Delta during the 1950s and 1960s and places these moments in the context of larger themes, such as the civil rights movement and religion in the African-American community. Hodges has also published articles in such journals as The CLA Journal, The Langston Hughes Review, Soundings, and The Southern Quarterly.

Hodges was born in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood, where he attended segregated schools and graduated as valedictorian from Broad Street High School in 1963. He won a full-tuition scholarship to attend Morehouse College, where he was an honor student and was selected as a Merrill Scholar to travel and study in Europe. As a student in Nantes, France, Hodges acted in plays and gained fluency in French. He received a Master’s degree in English from Atlanta University and a Master’s and PhD in religion and literature from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Before accepting his position at UT, Hodges taught in the English Department at Barat College, where he also served as Chair of African American Studies. Hodges has traveled throughout Europe and West Africa and has lectured on African American religion in China. He now lives in Knoxville with his wife Carolyn, who is Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at UT.
Writers in the Library is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For further information contact Marilyn Kallet, Director, UT Creative Writing Program (, or Christopher Hebert, Writer-in-Residence, UT Libraries (

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Jamie Quatro to read at UT library, Jan. 27

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Jamie Quatro. Photo by Kristen Brock.

Jamie Quatro will read at UT’s Writers in the Library, Monday, January 27th at 7 p.m. in the John C. Hodges Library auditorium. The reading is free and open to the public.

In March 2013, Quatro’s debut story collection, I Want To Show You More (Grove Press), was released to critical acclaim: Dwight Garner of the New York Times calls it, “Subtle, sexy, and reflective.” The collection is a 2013 New York Times Notable Book, NPR Best Book of 2013, Indie Next pick, and New York Times Editors’ Choice. It was named a Top 10 Book of 2013 by Dwight Garner in the New York Times, and a Favorite Book of 2013 by James Wood in The New Yorker. The collection is currently a finalist for the Georgia Townsend Fiction Prize and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize.

Quatro’s work has appeared in Tin House, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s, AGNI, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. A finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction, she is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, as well as 2013 fellowships from both the Bread Loaf and the Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. Her stories are anthologized in the O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and in the forthcoming 9th edition of The Story and Its Writer (ed. Ann Charters).

Quatro holds graduate degrees from the College of William & Mary and the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and is a Contributing Editor at Oxford American magazine. She lives with her family in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
Writers in the Library is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For further information contact Marilyn Kallet, Director, UT Creative Writing Program (, or Christopher Hebert, Writer-in-Residence, UT Libraries (

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Street Fair and free pizza at library, Wed. 1/15

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Start 2014 right at the library’s New Year’s Resolutions Street Fair and Pizza Panel, Wednesday, January 15, at Hodges Library.

Pizza Panel: Communicating and Interacting with Professors, Advisors, Librarians, and Other Campus Academic Support
12:30-1:30 pm
Mary E. Greer Room, 258 Hodges Library

Ask questions and get tips on how to build relationships with faculty and staff while eating free pizza.

Academic Success Fair
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
2nd floor, Hodges Library

Learn about Career Services, the Writing Center, Student Success Center, and others. Get help, on the spot, with citing sources, resume writing, and computer questions. Earn tickets for a chance to win one of five $20 gift cards.

What does a great paper look like?
2nd floor, Hodges Library
Our larger-than-life display showcases all the elements of a good paper. Check it out.

Star in a library poster
2nd floor entrance, Hodges Library
Want to be UT Famous? Join other campus celebrities to star in your own “READ” poster. Strike a pose reading your favorite book, and your photograph could appear on the Libraries’ next poster. Drop by, bring a favorite book (or borrow one of ours), bring a friend, wear a snazzy costume if you wish, and pose for our professional photographer. Then visit us on Faceboook (/utklibraries) to vote for your favorite student-star. Later photo sessions will be held at the Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine Library (Thursday, Jan. 16, noon-2:00 pm) and Music Library (Friday, Jan. 17, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm). More info here.

During final exams: longer hours and “de-stress” activities

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During finals, campus libraries will be open additional hours and will offer activities to help students “de-stress.” De-Stress For Success activities are co-sponsored by the Graduate Student Senate, Student Assessment of Instruction System, and the Safety, Environment, and Education Center.


Hodges Library:
All floors of Hodges Library will be open continuously from noon, Sunday, December 1, until midnight on Thursday, December 12.

Watch for our super-fun photo booth!

Pendergrass Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine Library:
Wed., Dec. 4 – Thurs., Dec. 5 —7:30 am – midnight
Fri., Dec. 6 — 7:30 am – 8 pm
Sat., Dec. 7 — 9 am – 8 pm
Sun., Dec. 8 — noon – midnight
Mon., Dec. 9 – Wed., Dec. 11 — 7:30 am – midnight
Thurs., Dec. 12 — 7:30 am – 6 pm

George F. DeVine Music Library:
Wed., Dec. 4 – Thurs., Dec. 5 — 8 am – 11 pm
Fri., Dec. 6 — 8 am – 5 pm
Sat., Dec. 7 — 10 am – 7 pm
Sun., Dec. 8 — 2 pm – 11 pm
Mon., Dec. 9 – Wed., Dec. 11 — 8 am – 11 pm
Thurs., Dec. 12 — 8 am – 6 pm


Hodges Library will host a number of activities to help students who are feeling overwhelmed by final exams. HABIT (Human Animal Bond in Tennessee) therapy dogs and massage therapists will be on hand to help students unwind. Student Health Clinic staff will offer “Well-Being Tips” for healthful eating and managing stress. Staff from SAIS (Student Assessment of Instruction System) will hand out popsicles for an energy boost on Study Day. Ongoing activities include games, cartoons, and coloring books in Room 251. And watch for our free Photo Booth!

Pendergrass Agriculture & Veterinary Medicine Library also will host HABIT dogs and will offer snacks, board games, and origami. For an entertaining distraction, join the Pendergrass folks for a screening of the movie Red 2 at 3:30 pm on Monday, December 9.

Wed., Dec. 4 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
noon – 2 pm SAIS ice cream Commons
1-4 pm Free massages Commons
5-7 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
Thurs., Dec. 5 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs AgVetMed Library
Fri., Dec. 6 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
Mon., Dec. 9 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs AgVetMed Library
1-4 pm Free massages Commons
3:30 pm movie: Red 2 A118 CVM (Ag campus)
4-6 pm Photo Booth POD Market
5-7 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
Tues., Dec. 10 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs AgVetMed Library
1-4 pm Free massages Commons
4-6 pm Photo Booth POD Market
5-7 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
Wed., Dec. 11 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
1-4 pm Free massages Commons
5-7 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
Thurs., Dec. 12 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs AgVetMed Library
1-4 pm Free massages Commons
Fri., Dec. 13 10 am – noon Well-Being Tips Commons
noon – 2 pm HABIT dogs Melrose exit

Knoxville and the Civil War: you are invited to a lecture

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KnoxCivilWar_smallDuring the Civil War, Knoxville, Tennessee was almost equally divided between Confederate and Union sympathizers.

Professor Tracy McKenzie, author of the book on the subject — Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War — will offer a lecture in the John C. Hodges Library on Thursday, November 14. The public is invited. The lecture is at 6:30 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium. A reception and music in the Jack E. Reese Galleria begin at 5:30 p.m.

Lincolnites and Rebels details Knoxville’s complex Civil War experience from the viciously partisan journalism of characters like William G. “Parson” Brownlow to post-war conflicts over the issue of emancipation.

Knoxville in the mid-nineteenth century was a commercial center, and during the Civil War was a strategically important juncture in the railroad that linked the eastern and western theaters of the war. Consequently, Knoxville was under continuous military occupation throughout the war.

Nearly forty-thousand soldiers fought over the town in the fall of 1863. The bloody Battle of Fort Sanders, the climactic battle in the siege of Knoxville, took place 150 years ago this month, less than a quarter mile from the current John C. Hodges Library.

The UT Libraries is marking the sesquicentennial with a new digital collection that highlights the libraries’ excellent holdings of Civil War documents. Selected letters and journals in the Digital Civil War Collection capture the perspectives and personal experiences of soldiers and civilians.

CartesDeVisite2_smallCivil War artifacts from the UT Libraries’ collections are now on display in the Special Collections reading room, 121 Hodges Library. Among the items on display are an Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America signed by an imprisoned Confederate soldier to secure his parole; a Union veteran’s badge cast from bronze taken from Confederate cannons; and the signed carte de visite of General Ambrose Burnside, leader of the defending Union troops at the Battle of Fort Sanders.

The public is invited to interact with fellow Civil War enthusiasts, examine gems from the Libraries’ collections, and enjoy the music of old-time Appalachian string band Boogertown Gap.

“The Librarian and the Banjo”: film screening and discussion

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Librarian&Banjo2Music librarian Dena Epstein worked for 25 years to prove the African origin of the banjo and banjo music. The filmmaker who documented the librarian’s contribution to ethnomusicology will host a free screening and discussion of his film, The Librarian and the Banjo, in the Hodges Library auditorium, 2 p.m., Thursday, November 14. Filmmaker Jim Carrier will be in Knoxville for the 16th Annual Banjo Gathering.

The Librarian and the Banjo tells the story of music librarian Dena Epstein, whose trailblazing scholarship documented the musical contributions of African slaves to the New World and proved that the banjo was a slave instrument with West African roots. Her work shattered myths and sparked a remarkable revival of black string band music.

Dena Epstein worked at the Newark Public Library and the Library of Congress in the late 1940s before taking a hiatus to raise her children. As filmmaker Jim Carrier explains on the cover notes to The Librarian and the Banjo:

“On one of many weekend trips to the New York Public Library to find her next research topic, she discovered a citation of the Civil War diary of William Francis Allen, the first author of Slave Songs of the United States. At the time academic musicology dismissed slave music as unoriginal, derivative of white, European music, and not worth studying. Working on her own, Dena pored through 10,000 volumes — novels, slave narratives, diaries of slave owners in Jamaica and Barbados — to gather historical evidence of a rich slave culture.”

Epstein’s subsequent publication of her findings “revolutionized our understanding of American music… Today, we take for granted that African-American music is the tap root of popular American music. We owe much of that knowledge to this music librarian who set out to correct history.”

The Librarian and the Banjo also examines why the banjo, an instrument whose roots spring from Africa and African Americans, was eventually almost completely abandoned by African Americans.

The film’s soundtrack includes music on gourd akontings, minstrel instruments, and bluegrass banjos. Musicians interviewed in the film include the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, as well as local traditional music/banjo expert and park ranger, Bobby Fulcher.

The public is invited to the screening.

Knoxville & the Civil War: lecture, Nov. 14

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The public is invited to a lecture by
Professor Tracy McKenzie,
scholar of Civil War-era Tennessee.

Thursday, November 14, 2013
John C. Hodges Library
6:30 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium

Reception begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Jack E. Reese Galleria.
Civil War artifacts will be on display in our Special Collections reading room.

Tracy McKenzie, professor and chair of the department of history at Wheaton College, is the author of two award-winning books on the Upper South during the American Civil War, One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee and Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War. Lincolnites and Rebels explores the civil war within Civil War by tracing the experience of a single community deeply divided between Unionist and Confederate sympathies: Knoxville, Tennessee. The Battle of Fort Sanders (November 29, 1863), the decisive engagement in the campaign to gain control of the city of Knoxville and the railroad that linked the Confederacy east and west, took place less than a quarter mile from the site of the current John C. Hodges Library.

Winning student artworks to be unveiled Oct. 15

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Student Art in the Library will unveil the fall exhibition of student works and announce the prize winners at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 15, in 135 Hodges Library. Each fall and spring, a committee of library staff members holds a juried exhibition of two-dimensional works by UT students. The selected pieces are installed in our exhibition space in 135 Hodges Library and remain on display throughout the semester. This fall, Student Art in the Library received 68 entries from 29 UT student artists. The Student Art in the Library contest awards a First Prize of $300, a Second Prize of $150, and a Third Prize of $75.

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