Atlanta University Center Consortium

Loretta Parham named 2017 ACRL Academic/ Research Librarian of the Year

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For Immediate Release
Jan. 25, 2017

Contact:

Chase Ollis
Program Coordinator
ACRL
collis@ala.org

CHICAGO — Loretta Parham, CEO and director of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library is the 2017 Association of College and Research Libraries’ Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The award, sponsored by GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO, recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development.

Parham will receive a $5,000 award during the Middle Keynote session on Thursday, March 23, at the ACRL 2017 Conference in Baltimore.

“Loretta Parham’s drive, activism, and innovative approaches to library transformation have had a broad and sustained impact well beyond our field and she is the absolute embodiment of the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award,” said Michael Courtney, chair of the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award Committee and outreach and engagement librarian at the Indiana University Libraries. “Parham’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, her role as a passionate advocate for libraries and librarians, and her seemingly endless list of accomplishments exemplifies the spirit of this award. As one reviewer noted, ‘few, if any, possess the panorama of skills that are embodied in Ms. Parham’.”

“This award is such an honor and I am tremendously grateful for this acknowledgment of my passion and career commitment to service, libraries, and learning,” Parham said. “The credit for these successes should be shared by many others with whom I have worked, and to each of them and ACRL I say thank you.”

Highly respected by the library and higher education communities, Parham tirelessly worked to transform the Robert W. Woodruff Library, shared by Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, into a modern 21st century research facility known for its distinctive spaces and service. Under her leadership, the library has become widely recognized for its outreach to students, faculty, AUC alumni, and the wider Atlanta community.

In addition to the transformation of physical space, Parham expanded the library’s stewardship of historically significant special collections. Among these is the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, acquired by Morehouse in 2006 and housed in the Woodruff Library. With oversight for all aspects of conservation and preservation of the collection, Parham successfully steered a smooth and secure transition of the papers from Sotheby’s auction house in New York to Atlanta and provided strategic direction for processing and digitization of the collection, making it accessible for public use within an impressive two-year timeframe.

The library extends this commitment to public service by acting as a cultural hub, offering symposia, art exhibits, civic discussions, voter registration seminars, distinguished speakers, and historical presentations to the AUC community and Atlanta residents. As the result of her vision and leadership, the Robert W. Woodruff Library received both the 2012 IIDA/ ALA Award for the transformation of library space and the 2016 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.

“Loretta Parham epitomizes the innovative, visionary spirit of today’s academic and research librarians,” noted ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis. “Widely recognized as passionate advocate for libraries and librarians, her commitment to a transformational vision of the academic library as a center for research, learning, and outreach has earned her the respect of the institutions she serves, the library and higher education communities, and indeed, the general public.”

In addition to her work transforming the Woodruff Library, Parham is known as a champion for librarianship and higher education, advocating with passion and clarity for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), their significant special collections, and their value regionally, nationally, and globally. She has personally served as a mentor to hundreds of librarians and is the co-founding director and founding Board Chair of the HBCU Library Alliance. Established in 2002, the Alliance is a consortium of White House-designated HBCUs with a mission to transform its membership by developing leaders, preserving collections, and planning for future. Due to Parham’s leadership, the Alliance has been the recipient of or project partner in several Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants awards strengthening library services related to leadership development, photographic preservation, digitization services, and library support of faculty services.

An active member of ALA and ACRL, Parham served as a member of the ACRL Board of Directors as director-at-large  (2011-15), member of the College & Research Libraries Editorial Board (2002-08), and as a member of the ALA Committee on Accreditation (2016-20). Parham additionally served as a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees and chair of the OCLC Membership Committee (2012-17), treasurer of the Oberlin Group Consortium (2011-15), and as chair of the Board of Directors and past finance chair of the SOLINET Library Network (2000-04).

Her publications include “Achieving Diversity: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians” (with B. Dewey, 2006), “Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Custodian of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection: ‘Until Further Notice.’” in RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage (2007), and “Redesigning Services at The Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc.” in Library Workflow Redesign: Six Case Studies (with C. Hart, 2007).

Prior to joining the Robert W. Woodruff Library in 2004, Parham served as director of the Hampton University Harvey Library (1998-2004), director/ administrator of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (1997-98), deputy director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (1991-97), and in a variety of positions at the Chicago Public Library (1977-91).

Parham received her B.S. in Communications-Broadcasting from Southern Illinois University and M.L.S. from the University of Michigan, which honored her with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Information in 2016 in recognition of her service to the profession.

The ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award dates back to 1978, and recent award winners include Susan K. Nutter (2016); Robert A. Seal (2015); Tim Bucknall (2014); Patricia Iannuzzi (2013); Paula T. Kaufman (2012); Janice Welburn (2011); Maureen Sullivan (2010); Gloriana St. Clair (2009); Peter Hernon (2008); Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson (2007); Ray English (2006); Ravindra Nath (R. N.) Sharma (2005); Tom Kirk (2004); Ross Atkinson, (2003); and Shelley Phipps (2002).

For more information regarding the award, or a complete list of past recipients, please visit the awards section of the ACRL website.

About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing nearly 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the web at acrl.org, Facebook at facebook.com/ala.acrl and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO

GOBI® Library Solutions from EBSCO, formerly YBP Library Services, offers over 13 million print and ebooks to academic, research and special libraries worldwide. From streamlining workflows to partnering with library staff, GOBI Library Solutions is committed to providing the best solution for libraries’ acquisition, collection development and technical service needs. For more than 40 years, the mission has remained same—to partner with libraries in providing access to the broadest selection of scholarly content available.

AUCC Institutions and City of Atlanta Launch Video Camera Surveillance Program

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Campus Presidents with Mayor Reed’s office, the Atlanta Police Department, City Council and other partners work together to install 35 cameras and five license plate readers throughout the AUC neighborhood.

ATLANTA (Jan. 24, 2017) – Today, the Atlanta University Center Consortium Council of Presidents and Mayor Kasim Reed announced the completion of a collaborative surveillance program that strategically places video cameras and license plate readers around the campus community to create a safer environment.

Working through the University Community Development Corp., a community development arm of the AUC, Presidents Dr. John Wilson, Dr. Ronald Johnson, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, and Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell have forged a partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Atlanta Police Department to install 35 cameras and five license plate readers around the AUC community. The cameras are monitored by AUC police at their respective schools and APD’s video integration center. The VIC’s state-of-the-art system provides a cohesive unit of 24/7 video feeds from the cameras to serve as an additional layer of security to increase the scope and reach of existing campus police departments.

There are 35 AXIS Q60-E PTZ Dome Network Cameras around the Atlanta University Center.

“The city of Atlanta under the leadership of Mayor Kasim Reed continues to be a model partner with our community.  This effort is an example of how government and community can work together for the good of all,” said Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, president of Morehouse College and chair of the Council of Presidents. “Our partnership positions the Atlanta University Center as a safer environment not only for our students but for those who work and live on our campuses and in our neighboring communities.”

Each institution – Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College – paying equal amounts, and the mayor’s office contributing the remaining balance, funded the $700,000 project. The effort highlights the priority the AUCC institutions and the city have to combat crime in the community.

“The installation of the cameras is a collaborative effort between the AUC schools and the city of Atlanta to improve the safety and security for all students, faculty, staff, and neighbors who reside in the AUC community,” said Rita B. Gibson, interim executive director for UCDC. “The joint efforts of these institutions and the city are a shining example of a successful public-private partnership.”

There are five license plate recognition cameras around the Atlanta University Center.

The system’s cameras stream to a server at the data center in the AUC Woodruff Library. “It makes sense for this library, which is shared by these institutions, to be the aggregation point for the video feeds,” noted Loretta Parham, CEO and director of the AUC Woodruff Library. “We already have an efficient infrastructure in place to support the camera surveillance program.”

Map of all 35 surveillance cameras and five license plate readers.

 

AUC Offers A Treasure Trove of Beauty, History and Art

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It was 1931 when Hale Woodruff, an abstract painter, and Nancy Prophet, a painter and sculptor, established the art departments for the Atlanta University Center institutions. Through the visionary genius of Woodruff, AUC’s cultural heart and soul emerged as the staging ground for some of the world’s most talented Black artists.

For nearly 20 years, Woodruff would not only develop art instruction for AUC students but also would create a platform for the Atlanta University Art Annuals and catapult AUC as an art haven.

Whether ingesting the murals of Woodruff, being inspired by the wordsmith Martin Luther King Jr., experiencing a vibrant art collection in a library setting, or bearing witness to art by and about women of the African Diaspora, the AUC is a canopy of artistic treasures that rival any museum.

Nancy Prophet

Clark Atlanta University, the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library and Spelman College serve as purveyors of beauty, knowledge, history and social justice. Unmistakably individual, yet linked by common treads of talent, culture, experiences, civic engagement and righteous indignation.

The must-see works in the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, unique and rare collections at the Woodruff Library, and femininity and originality at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art are a treasure trove of beauty, art and history in the AUC.

Clark Atlanta University Art Museum

With a permanent collection of 1,215 works, the CAU Art Museum features bodies of work that include the likes of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s “Disciples Healing the Sick,” Romare Bearden’s “Snow Morning,” Jacob Lawrence’s “Brownstones,” Elizabeth Catlett’s “Negro Women,” and Woodruff’s “Art of the Negro” mural series.

Fathi Hassan’s “Nubia,” 2012

Through Woodruff’s efforts with juried exhibitions from 1942 to 1970, CAU, formerly Atlanta University, served as a conduit from which to build the University’s collection. According to Brenda Thompson in the book “In the Eye of the Muses: Selections From the Clark Atlanta University Art Collection,” it was 1988 during the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University when then-President Thomas W. Cole Jr., Ph.D., asked Tina Dunkley to oversee CAU’s Trevor Arnett Hall renovation.

From this renovation, the CAU Art Museum moved from the basement to the second floor of Trevor Arnett. “When the new galleries opened, many of us were startled, feeling both proud and amazed that these quality works were a part of Clark Atlanta University’s permanent collection,” Thompson, an avid Black art collector and philanthropist, wrote.

Through the national juried competitions, Woodruff began the core foundation for what is now the permanent collection of the CAU Art Museum.

“If you’re really trying to understand African-American art, you would really want to come here,” said Maurita Poole, Ph.D., director of the CAU Art Museum. “People do not know about our collection of art and how it is a resource for them and how there is so much history about Atlanta University’s history and the art as well.”

Currently, the museum features two exhibitions, “Bitter/Sweet,” and “Fathi Hassan: Edge of Memory.” Running from Oct. 9-Dec. 9, 2016, “Bitter/Sweet” highlights works from the 1940s to the present featuring all nuances of the African-American experience. “Fathi Hassan: Edge of Memory,” which runs from Oct. 9-May 26, 2017, showcases the works of contemporary artist Fathi Hassan’s mixed-media works that explore the plight of Nubians, an ethnic group from southern Egypt and northern Sudan.

Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

Just like many other libraries, there are books and periodicals, electronic resources, a learning commons, smart classrooms, study rooms, a print shop, free Wi-Fi, and a coffee shop in the Robert W. Woodruff Library; however, take another look, and one might think this is an art museum. With approximately 200 pieces of artwork on exhibit at a time, the art crux of the Woodruff Library is to have art that inspires the learning space.

From the “Start Something: Activism and the Atlanta Student Movement” exhibition

“A modern academic library should not just be considered as a place of information resources, but also as a place to motivate learning and thinking,” said Loretta Parham, CEO and director of the Woodruff Library. “When AUC faculty and students are studying or conducting research in an academic setting that is warm, inviting, and reflects beauty and creativity, we feel it serves to inspire them.”

It began where any education institution might begin – with students. In the mid-2000s, students would showcase their capstone art projects in what is now called the Woodi Gallery. From that, Mrs. Parham wanted to take it a step farther. With funding in 2010 for a renovation, the Knowledge and Arts Initiative was born.

The effort of the initiative is to promote student pride and ownership of the library, as well as inspire student thought and conversations through the visual arts. A range of works that includes sculpture, photography, loaned and owned art, including a signature piece titled “People of Color,” by Jonathan Romain, who has created work for President Barack Obama.

“People of Color” by Jonathon Romain

Four colorful student portraits representing CAU, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse and Spelman, “People of Color” demands notice. Romain was allowed to visit each campus to take photos. From those photos, he chose one that best captured that campus and that is the student he painted.

“I call it the centerpiece of the library, and it is captivating and is the staple of our Arts Initiative,” said Carolyn Hart, assistant director, Planning, Assessment & Communications for the Woodruff Library. “From the Carolinas to California, we have visited libraries and I have to say I’ve seen absolute gorgeous buildings. I’ve admired architecture, but as far as the art I really think we hands down are in a league of our own.”

Also, the library features AUC artists who include: Dr. William Anderson, Dr. Louis Delsarte, Derek Fordjour and Ross Oscar Knight (Morehouse College); Dr. Frank Toby Martin, Dr. Althea Murphy-Price, and Dr. Duhirwe Rushemeza (Spelman College); Tina Dunkley (Atlanta University); Ron Young (Clark College); Dante Yarbrough (Clark Atlanta University); and Freddie Styles (Morris Brown College).

In addition to the art, the AUC Woodruff Library Archives Research Center is home to several unique manuscripts, archival, photographic, art and media collections, including original pin and ink drawings by Hale Woodruff, photographic collections documenting the historical Atlanta University Center institutions, as well as the Countee Cullen-Harold Jackman Memorial Collection, Hoyt Fuller Collection, and Lemoine DeLeaver Pierce Papers containing prints and photographs from the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movements.

Adding to the more than 100 collections in the Archives Research Center are the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection. It was 2006 when a coalition of Atlanta movers and shakers led by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin brokered a $32 million deal to land the papers in the AUC.

Owned by Morehouse but housed at the Woodruff, the collection is made up of some 13,000 items, including some 1,100 books owned by the Nobel Peace Prize native son.

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

CNN coins it as one of the six reasons to love Atlanta, and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art’s mission to inspire and enrich the lives of all through art by women of the African Diaspora is the reason for such a designation.

“When Dr. Donald Stewart was president, he said, ‘You know we need to make sure we begin to collect art by Black women artist,’” said Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Museum of Fine Art and a 1993 Spelman graduate. “When the college’s collection began, we certainly didn’t have this precise mission.”

Located on the first floor of the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D., Academic Center at Spelman, the Museum of Fine Art was established in 1996 from part of a $20 million gift to the college from the Cosby family. The 4,500-square-foot exhibition features a climate-controlled vault for the permanent collection, a lab for routine art preparation, and a museum store.

“Most of what you get from the Museum of Art is the crème de la crème of contemporary art,” said Dr. Poole, who spent three years at the museum training as the graduate assistant before serving as the Andrew Mellon Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts at Williams College Museum of Art, followed by her current position at CAU Art Museum

Some of its more than 350 permanent holdings include the works of Kofi Bailey, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence Valerie Maynard, Faith Ringgold, Henry O. Tanner and Hale Woodruff. Also, the Museum of Fine Art was awarded a $250,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to pilot a curatorial studies program. Designed for juniors and seniors in various academic majors, the two-year collaborative program seeks to prepare the next generation of students of African descent for curatorial professions and serve as a pipeline to diversify a field described as 80 percent White, according to the American Alliance of Museums.

“When you think of the fact that there are only five of us in the field at the director level now, there just had to be some kind of effort to help diversify the field. We can begin to address that through our curatorial program,” said Dr. Brownlee, who is celebrating the museum’s 20th anniversary.

Currently on view until Dec. 3, 2016, at the Museum of Fine Art is “AFRICA FORECAST: Fashioning Contemporary Life,” an original exhibition that looks at fashion through two overlapping perspectives – an ever-changing global marketplace and the unique ways Black women construct their lives.

‘START SOMETHING’ EXHIBIT BRIDGES HISTORIC YOUTH-LED PROTESTS AND TODAY’S SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT

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AUC Woodruff Library extends exhibit through May 22, 2017

ATLANTA (Aug. 8, 2016) – Using archival photographs and documents along with compelling narratives, “Start Something: Activism and the Atlanta Student Movement” provides an in-depth look into student activism within the Atlanta University Center and across the city of Atlanta. In response to continued public interest, the AUC Woodruff Library has extended the exhibit through May 22, 2017.

“Start Something” documents the history and legacy of the Atlanta Student Movement of the 1960s. During the movement, students from Atlanta University, Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University), the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College organized protests to end legalized segregation practices in Atlanta. The students penned and published the manifesto, “An Appeal for Human Rights,” and organized nonviolent marches, sit-ins, picket lines, and boycotts that forced Atlanta merchants and government officials to desegregate stores and public facilities. The contributions the Atlanta Student Movement made to the civil rights movement helped change not only the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia, but also the nation. The exhibit also ties the student-led, civil rights protests of the 1960s with today’s youth-led protests, such as #AUCShutItDown, #ItsBiggerThanYou and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The ‘Start Something’ exhibit is an ideal tool to connect Atlanta University Center history with the issues that our students are delving into today in the classroom and in their personal lives,” said Loretta Parham, CEO and director of the AUC Woodruff Library. “We have extended the exhibit to allow more students and the broader Metro Atlanta community the opportunity to discover the important but often overlooked role of Atlanta University Center student activists in the pivotal events of the American Civil Rights Movement.”

In support of the exhibit, a variety of special programs will be presented throughout the academic year. Each program is free and open to the public. Upcoming offerings include:

The Politics of the U.S. Presidential Electoral College – September 15, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.: Panelists will discuss the history of the Electoral College, how it works, why it continues, who benefits, and why your vote counts. Participants include panelists Dr. Marilyn Davis (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Spelman College) and Mr. Noel Whelchel (Doctoral Student, Department of Political Science, Clark Atlanta University) and moderator Dr. William Boone (Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Clark Atlanta University).

Lecture and Book Signing by Dr. Carol Anderson, author of “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” – Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.: In her book, Dr. Anderson, a professor of African American Studies at Emory University, pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, and protection against fraud; rendering visible the long lineage of white rage. Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, “White Rage” adds an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.

“These ongoing programs are designed to further connect the exhibit with current events and today’s social issues. Because they are free and open to the general public, they create a forum for dialogue among diverse audiences across our community,” added Parham. 

Events will take place in the Library’s Exhibition Hall. For more information about the events, call 404.978.2003. Visit http://research.auctr.edu/AtlantaStudentMovement for details about the exhibit, which is also free and open to the public. 

About the AUC Woodruff Library

The Atlanta University Center (AUC) Woodruff Library is a member of one of the nation’s oldest and largest consortiums of historically black colleges and universities, which includes Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. As the intellectual center of this prestigious, academic community, we strive to accomplish our mission of providing the highest level of information resources and services in support of student and faculty success and the cultural preservation of the AUC. In addition to the aesthetic benefits of this state-of-the-art facility, the Library has evolved into a model repository of information resources and a front runner in the innovative delivery of those resources. The AUC Woodruff Library is the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category from the Association of Collegiate and Research Libraries. Learn more at http://www.auctr.edu.

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Jennifer M. Spann

Communications Manager

Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

111 James P. Brawley Drive SW

Atlanta, GA 30314

404.978.2114 – office

404.577.5158 – fax

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