National Library Week Event Schedule

“Community Matters @ Your Library”

The Xavier University of Louisiana Library Resource Center will celebrate National Library Week April 15-19 with a series of events with the theme “Community Matters @ Your Library”.

Two key events scheduled are a public reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail – commemorating the 50th Anniversary – at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday (April 15), and an Open House on Thursday (April 18) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Xavier’s Art Gallery and Library. 

Library tours and database training with compliment the event schedule, which includes:

Monday April 15
Book Read Out, Jim Thiebaud
Restavec:  From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American
Library 400F 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday April 16
50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Letter from Birmingham Jail
Public Reading by Library faculty/staff
Library 400F 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Wednesday April 17
Lavon Williams, Head of Special Collections New Orleans Main Public Library Book Read Out and Inaugural Book Club collaboration Michele Woods
Library 1st Floor 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.  

Book Read Out Marilyn Lee and Michele Woods
My Story, My Song: Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith by Lucimarian Roberts with reflections by Robin Roberts
Library 400F 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Thursday April 18
Library Open House
Library & Art Gallery 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Program 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.: Alice Roy, Prayer , Phyllis Calvin, Poetry Reading, Dr. Mark Gstohl “Free Libraries”, Reading Passage Irwin Lachoff, Centennial James A. Michener, Michele Woods, Poetry Reading

Friday April 19
National Library Week Closing event Cultural and Literary Evening  featuring Book Read Out with Sandra Monroe and Karma Williams Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation, plus poetry, spoken word, and music
Art Gallery 12:45 to 3:45 p.m.

An Interview with Robert Skinner


After over 25 years of service here at the Xavier University of Louisiana Library, Robert Skinner will retire this February.  Last week he took a moment to answer some questions reflecting on his tenure here and anticipating the future.  These are his thoughts.

1. What have you most enjoyed about being a librarian?  That’s a kind of multi-layered question.  First, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to reimagine the library at Xavier and build it into what it is today.  In 1987 the library was small and had few resources for faculty or students, and it’s been exciting to develop a larger, better set of collections to support teaching and research.  Second, I’ve loved the contact I’ve had with both faculty and students.  Those are the library’s key constituencies, and I’ve enjoyed learning what was important to them and working to supply them with their information needs.  I’ve also cherished the opportunities that I’ve had to work with faculty and students in the classroom.  My original aim was to be a college teacher, so it was wonderful to get into the classroom and share my knowledge.

2. What major shifts in library service have you witnessed during your career?  The biggest shifts have come through computerization of information resources.  When I was new in the profession, the big thing was performing computer searches of large indexing and abstracting tools to create on-target bibliographies.  In the years following the Internet revolutionized how we interact with information.  Then came the digitization of book and serial resources.  In my working lifetime, students have gone from tediously searching indexes, abstracts, and reference books to performing research online in real time.  That was science fiction when I entered the profession in 1975.

3. What was your biggest accomplishment here at the Xavier University Library?  Planning the design for the present library would probably be the biggest.  After that would come the development of Archives and Special Collections.  Xavier had no organized collection of university records that administrators and grant writers could draw on for information.  Now those records are consulted on a weekly basis.

4. What advice would you give someone building a career in libraries today?  Given the trends of the past twenty years, I think it would be wise to expect fewer and smaller traditional libraries.  So much information is being digitized that we’re probably only a couple of decades away from most information becoming available in a digital format.  I’d be preparing myself for that change and learning how I could tailor my knowledge and skills to fit into that world.  I’d also recommend learning to research and write for a professional audience.  Things may change in information, but scholarly communication is important to anyone seeking to rise through the ranks of an academic career.  That’s particularly true for librarians, who are still fighting to achieve equality in academic rank.

5. What do you plan to do in retirement?  I want to go back to writing both fiction and non-fiction, so that’ll take up part of my time.  My wife and I used to go to the Rocky Mountains every year to hike before Hurricane Katrina changed our lives.  We expect to go back to that and visit some new place a couple of times every year.

Note on Bob Skinner

Robert Skinner will be remembered not only for making the library a leading undergraduate resource, but also for leadership during its construction and later during its preservation following Katrina. He developed the archives and special collections reflecting the cultures of the University while at the same time expanding electronic sources and capabilities. Furthermore, his efforts to reach the University community through readings, lectures, exhibitions, and related events have contributed to making the library a key resource for the University community and visiting scholars.

Making the library a partner in publishing Xavier Review and books by Xavier Review Press has brought positive attention to the University’s contributions in the arts and humanities. His work as Managing Editor of the journal and press for so many years has been exemplary. Furthermore, his own writing has distinguished his years at the University in the tradition of “practicing what one preaches.” His books on the African American writer Chester Himes, those on hard-boiled fiction, and his own novels exploring the color line in New Orleans, added to other accomplishments, make his contribution to the University singular and memorable. It has been a privilege to work with Bob Skinner over many years at Xavier, and I wish him well as he prepares for retirement.

Thomas Bonner, Jr.

Professor Emeritus


Books into Film

Celebrate the new year with a night out at the movies.  The 2013 books into film series begins with a western movie titled The Oxbow Incident and based on the novel of the same title by Walter Van Tilburg Clark.  Made in 1943 and starring Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews, this film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.  Only movies of significant cultural, historical or aesthetic content make this coveted list.

Join us Thursday, January 24th at 6pm for dinner (pizza) and a movie.  We looking forward to seeing you there.

American Library Association Annual Conference

Summer continues to be a great time for faculty members to take classes and attend conferences.  Last week senior reference librarian, Michele Woods and Serials Department Head, Marilyn Lee, attended the American Library Association Conference and Exhibition in Anaheim, California.  Thousands of librarians converged in Anaheim to discuss current trends and practices in public and academic libraries.  This summer librarians contemplated how they might increase U.S. competitiveness through digital literacy.  This debate was squeezed between exhibit halls packed with the latest technologies, the election of new ALA officials and the creation of collaborative partnerships between libraries throughout the country.  Ms. Woods was fortunate enough to procure a ticket to the much sought after program “A Conversation with Sapphire.”  Sapphire has written a new book titled The Kid, which promises to be a best seller just like her novel PUSH was in the late 1990s.  Other authors (including John Irving, Jodi Picoult and Sharon Flake) roamed the conference halls signing books and chatting with librarians.  Wow…what a week!