Feature Stories

Baylor Website Maintenance to Impact Access to Online Library Resources

Person on laptop receiving 404 error

Tonight at 9:00 p.m. CST, the Baylor website (baylor.edu) will undergo maintenance and all baylor.edu-based web resources will be offline. Virtual off-campus visitors to baylor.edu will receive a maintenance message featuring links to important campus resources that are hosted beyond Baylor’s web domain. However, students, faculty, and staff using AirBear or the Baylor campus wired network will receive an error page.

Here is a list of cloud-based library resources and additional platforms that are not implicated by tonight’s website maintenance.

Library Resources

Additional Resources

The team who will be performing maintenance on the baylor.edu domain is hopeful that the outage will only last 90 minutes. So, all baylor.edu website access should be restored by 11:00 p.m. at the latest.

If the team encounters issues that extend the outage, we will provide updates here and on social media at @BaylorITS and @BaylorLibraries.

Waco History’s “Waco Founding: Your Hunt, Your History” Brings Competition, Education to Downtown Waco

The Waco History team poses at the information tent, Waco Downtown Farmers Market, August 28, 2021

On August 28th, launching from the Downtown Farmers’ Market, forty-one teams scoured downtown Waco solving clues and completing challenges that came with the inaugural Waco History Hunt. This edition on Waco’s founding took the 131 participants to the Waco History sites of Waco Indian Village, Fort Fisher, Waco Village, Jacob de Cordova, Chisholm Trail, Waco Examiner, New Hope Baptist Church, and the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Mill.

Along the way, hunters deconstructed history, made land deals, herded “cattle,” hawked newspapers, and sang hymns! Three teams won bountiful baskets full of prizes donated by local businesses. Team Olmstead (Michael, Kim, Caleb, Abigail, and Daniel) were winners of the Grand Prize with Jana Shultz and Team Babies (Luke Sayers, Amber Sayers, Michael Nichols, and Stevie Nichols) each winning in the Most Creative and Most Historical category respectively.

Prize baskets with tons of great swag from local businesses, authors, and others made the hunt even more competitive – and rewarding!

The Waco History Scavenger hunt showed us a side of Waco history that we never knew! From sneaky cemetery dealings to original cartography, we learned a lot and had a ton of fun along the way. As they say, it’s not about the destination but the journey… Amanda S.

The event was the first public programming for the Waco History app and website, created and developed by the Institute for Oral History and Texas Collection at Baylor University.

We had a great time hunting for clues all over downtown, answering questions, and learning about Waco history. I especially liked the fact that my elementary aged boys connected the questions we were asked with the type of assignments they get at school (i.e. “compare and contrast” two things). It was a great way to reinforce the critical thinking and learning they do in school with a fun activity! – Ellen F.


“It was great to see young and old scouring the landscape around downtown Waco learning about their community’s rich history.” Stephen Sloan, Director of the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University

Organizers hope to make events like the scavenger hunt an annual occurrence, and plans for future Waco History events are already in discussion. A big thanks to The Texas Collection and Baylor Libraries Marketing & Communication for their support of this event and the Waco History app. See you next time!

Sha Towers and Ellen Filgo Share Insights in Liaison Librarianship Success

Associate librarian and director of Liaison Program, Ellen Hampton Filgo, and associate dean of Research and Engagement and librarian, Sha Towers don’t just work with books, they write them too. Filgo and Towers, both longtime employees of Baylor Libraries, are co-authors of the new book, Liaison Engagement Success: A Practical Guide for Librarians (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021).

The book, which offers practical skills and strategies for liaison librarianship, recognizes that the library profession has evolved from a collections-centric to an engagement-centric model, which requires new competencies for liaisons. Moreover, Liaison Engagement Success: A Practical Guide for Librarians serves as a framework for how to better engage with diverse constituencies and stakeholders in the field of librarianship.

With a combined 40 years of experience working in library services, Filgo and Towers have spent much of their time in the library profession learning how to engage with campus constituents. Many of the strategies offered in the book are a culmination of years of experimentation, evaluation of successes and failures, reflection, and lots of relationship-building.

“For me one of the most significant aspects of this work centers on relationship building and recognizing that some of the building blocks for successful relationships might seem insignificant at first glance or perhaps not seem directly relevant to the desired outcomes,” Towers said. “This work is relational rather than transactional. Relationship building is the critical foundation to any real success,” he continued.

As leaders and liaisons in the library, Filgo and Towers have been researching and writing about academic library liaison work for many years. They’ve spent their careers thinking about how librarians engage with the faculty and students in their liaison departments, and how that engagement leads to exciting opportunities to collaborate and new ways to provide research services. Over time, they’ve found meaningful ways to approach and engage with students and faculty.

“Library public services have moved away from a passive ‘sit at the reference desk and wait for people to come ask questions’ model to a proactive ‘get out there and engage with your patrons’ model, but there aren’t a lot of books that talk about the practical ways that liaisons engage with their departments,” Filgo said. “When we had the opportunity to write that book for the Practical Guides for Librarians series, we jumped at the chance,” she continued.

Moreover, their motivation for writing this book was to share the strategies they’ve found to be successful over time. The book offers specific strategies for topics in liaison librarianship such as getting to know a user community, finding effective strategies for proactive outreach, collaborating with others for effective engagement, and evaluating and assessing the engagement that is happening. Many of the strategies in the book are focused on self-awareness, reflection and related skills such as listening, reading body-language and communicating clearly.

Liaison Engagement Success: A Practical Guide for Librarians features practical tips and case studies for engagement with different disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, STEM, arts, professional disciplines, and with non-academic units.

A common thread for the tips and tactics shared in the book is the focus on adaptability and flexibility. While Towers and Filgo recognize that every community is different, they believe the most successful liaison librarians are the ones who can adeptly pivot to respond to the ever-changing landscape of librarianship.

In addition to their own experiences, Filgo and Towers solicited stories of engagement from liaisons all over the country. Each of these people share creative ways liaisons have been able to engage with their constituents and adapt to changes from the nature of information resources to technologies, expanding literacies, new faculty, evolving pedagogies and more.

By gathering these supplemental stories, Towers and Filgo crowdsourced expertise to provide examples of creative engagement spanning a variety of subjects from art, journalism and film to biology, health studies and engineering.

Towers and Filgo hope that those who read their book will walk away with the confidence that they can be successful in their jobs. Moreover, the two authors’ wish for readers is to feel equipped with a feast of suggestions and advice for how to think about successfully engaging with their constituents, ultimately leading to rewarding and enriching work.

Published by Rowman & Littlefield, Liaison Engagement Success: A Practical Guide for Librarians will be available for paperback, eBook and hardcover purchase in June 2021, but is available for pre-order now by the publisher, on Amazon and at select bookstores.

Mayor of Fano, Italy Surprises Armstrong Browning Library Fano Club

Massimo Seri, mayor of Fano, Italy, was a surprise guest at this year’s annual meeting of the Armstrong Browning Library’s Fano Club on Saturday, May 15. Seri joined the virtual meeting from the Museo Archeologico e Pinacoteca del Palazzo Malatestiano in Fano which houses Guercino’s painting, The Guardian Angel, that inspired Robert Browning’s poem, “The Guardian Angel — A Picture at Fano.”

Situated in front of Guercino’s masterpiece, the mayor celebrated the long-standing relationship between the city of Fano, the Fano Club, and the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University. “I would like to be able to strengthen the bond between our city and your club, maintaining a constant and continuous relationship and, if possible, also trying to organize joint initiatives aimed at enhancing our artistic heritage with the hope of seeing one another again soon.” He also offered the possibility of hosting a meeting of the Fano Club in Italy in 2022 and visiting Waco and the Armstrong Browning Library in the near future.

Armstrong Browning Library Director Jennifer Borderud appreciated the mayor making himself available to speak to Fano Club members. “The Fano Club was thrilled to hear from Mayor Seri at this year’s meeting. I am grateful to him for his kindness and for taking the time to talk with us about the history of Fano, its artistic and cultural heritage, and the unique connection our two cities share. I look forward to finding new ways to collaborate with the city of Fano and to encouraging Baylor students and Browning enthusiasts to visit.”

The Fano Club was established in 1912 by William Lyon Phelps, a Browning scholar at Yale, and later passed to Baylor professor A.J. Armstrong in 1943. Its membership shares Robert Browning’s experience of traveling to Fano, Italy, on the Adriatic coast and seeing Guercino’s Guardian Angel. Postcards mailed from Fano to the Armstrong Browning Library establish membership in the club, which gathers annually in Waco, Texas, for a dinner to share their experiences of Fano and to hear Browning’s poem read aloud. The Armstrong Browning Library houses a copy of Guercino’s Guardian Angel as well as a stained-glass rendering of this work of art created in 1924.

Baylor Libraries Aid Waco’s Coronavirus Fight by 3D Printing Devices for Family Health Clinic

For medical professionals working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) is a necessary but sometimes uncomfortable tool in the fight to stay healthy. Now, thanks to the resources of the Baylor University Libraries, health care professionals at Family Health Center Waco received 550 3D printed surgical mask tension-relief bands produced on equipment from the libraries’ Experiential Learning Commons (ELC).

NIH model wearing a 3D printed tension relief band of the design printed by the Baylor Libraries

“We saw an opportunity to use our 3D printers to solve an immediate and timely need by jumping onto this project,” said Andrew Telep, assistant director for the Experiential Learning Commons at Baylor Libraries. “If it makes wearing a mask even slightly more comfortable for the healthcare workers doing all they can to protect our community, it is well worth the effort.”

The collaboration began with a personal connection between Telep and Fernando Arroyo, chief of staff at the FHC. Arroyo shared how the physicians, nurses and medical staff at 16 clinics were spending hours wearing masks to protect them from the especially virulent and easily spread novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Arroyo expressed interest in obtaining something like a surgical mask tension-relief band to make wearing masks for long periods more comfortable.

Telep discovered that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website featured a set of 3D-printing plans for a small band that, when worn across the back of the head, provides hooks for the facemasks’ rubber bands. The bands hook onto the tension-relief band instead of a person’s ears, making the mask more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.

Telep’s work overseeing the ELC provides access to several 3D printers, which are normally used to support student and faculty research and projects ranging from producing prototypes to fully rendered models and custom projects like stands for the libraries’ copy of the Saint John’s Bible. With the clinically reviewed and recommended models freely available on the NIH website, it was a matter of preparing the models for printing, loading the printers with filament and repeating the print process.

3D printers in the Experiential Learning Commons print the first of 500+ tension relief bands

However, with Waco and McLennan County’s shelter-in-place order by closing campus to essential staff, Telep didn’t have student assistants available to operate the printers for extended projects as he would in normal conditions. Knowing the importance of the project and seeing only one alternative, he loaded the printers into his car and brought them home, where he has been running them since April 10.

Telep delivered 550 of the tension relief bands to Arroyo and the FHC Tuesday, but he notes that he will keep running the printers as long as a need for the devices is felt. And that mindset is already paying off: Telep has recently begun work on another batch of hundreds of bands at the request of Taylor Ulmer at Baylor Scott & White. He also noted that anyone with a 3D printer at home who wants to join in the effort can find the model on the NIH website at https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/3dpx-013410.

Staff at the Waco Family Health Center show off the Libraries’ donation of 3D printed tension relief bands

Celebrating First-Generation College Students at the Libraries

On Friday, Nov. 8, we joined the world in celebrating the success of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on campus for First-Generation Celebration Day!

Below are seven individuals who love and serve the Baylor Libraries in their own ways, while being the first in their families to attend university. We are so proud of these people and grateful for the experiences they bring to Baylor.

If you are first-gen and would like to share your story, we’d love to hear it! Please email carlye_thornton@baylor.edu to start the conversation.

Libraries on Display: Exploring Our Current Exhibits

With millions of items in our holdings, it’s fair to say we have a lot to work with when it comes to curating Libraries exhibits. This fall, there are more than a dozen exhibits on display across the Libraries system, from Moody and Jones to ABL, The Texas Collection and the Keston Center. This handy guide will put you in the know for what to check out on your next visit!


Central Libraries: Moody and Jones

The Art of the Saint John’s Bible (Jones Lobby)
Acquired by the Baylor Libraries in 2019, the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible features more than 160 fully illuminated pages and thousands of smaller images in the first hand-illuminated, calligraphed version of the Bible commissioned by a monastery since the invention of the printing press.

On the Subject of Transforming Space: Works by Winter Rusiloski (Jones Lobby)
Baylor Art Department faculty member Winter Rusiloski’s work showcases her grand vision of the spaces and people of the open spaces of West Texas.

Borrowed Light: Giclee Prints from Saint John’s Abbey (Moody-Jones Corridor, First Floor)
Take a closer look at six major illuminations from the Saint John’s Bible in this exhibit of giclee prints on loan from Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN.

Illuminating Psalms (Moody Third Floor)
A focused display featuring rare Bibles from the Central Libraries Special Collections.

Finding Harvey (Moody Third Floor)
A look at the life and influential career of eponymous mid-19th century artist HARVEY, a man behind the artwork featured on hundreds of black gospel albums of the 1960s-1970s.

Student Works, Crosshatch304 (Moody Third Floor)
Works on display this semester in Crosshatch304 (part of the Libraries’ collaboration with the Department of Art),

Art in the Carrels (Moody Second Floor)
Spend some time in one of our individual study carrels on the second floor of Moody and you’ll discover art from Baylor student artists, purchased by the Libraries in the early 2000s.

The Art of Harding Black (Prichard Info Commons, Moody Second Floor)
Harding Black, an influential ceramist and glaze-maker, left his collection of pottery and glaze formula notebooks to the Baylor Art Department, and excerpts from his storied career are on display in a series of vibrant, closeup canvases hanging in this 24-hour quiet study space.

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives (Moody First Floor, Near Moody 104 Active Learning Lab)
An exhibit of photos of Waco’s African-American population drawn from the photographic archives of The Texas Collection.

The Bevels and the Details: A Closer Look at Architectural Details of Notable Baylor Landmarks (Moody Stairs to Garden Level)
Drawn from a collection of hundreds of blueprints from buildings on the Baylor campus, this exhibit takes small details from each sheet and enlarges them to full poster size, revealing a rarely seen view of just how much work goes into even the smallest detail of a building’s design.

Vintage Panoramic Photos of Baylor and Waco (Moody Garden Level)
We added several very large format prints of vintage panoramic scenes captured by early 20th century Waco photographers to the walls of the Moody Garden Level Study Commons.

Marketing Texas: Promotional Brochures 1917-1930 (Moody Garden Level)
In the early 20th century, railroads, land speculators, and city governments drove migrants West to the Lone Star State by creating pamphlets and brochures extolling the virtues of a new life in Texas. This exhibit reproduces a selection of those covers to poster size, displaying their design aesthetics on a scale their original creators never imagined.


Armstrong Browning Library

“Every common bush afire with God”: Recognition, Prayer and Gratitude in the ABL’s Archive
This exhibition explores the intersection of religious and ecological concerns in nineteenth-century literature and art, from William Wordsworth to Gerard Manley Hopkins. The exhibit was curated by Molly Lewis, a doctoral student of English at Baylor University during a ten-week summer internship through the Armstrong Browning Library.


Keston Center for Religion, Politics, and Society

Voice of the Voiceless
An exhibit celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Keston Institute, with an emphasis on the role Keston has played in providing a source of hope and information for those who suffered under oppressive, anti-religious regimes.


The Texas Collection

Order Up! Spotlight on Texas Restaurants
Satisfy your craving for all things menu-related with this exhibit of menus, postcards, and ephemera from restaurants across the Lone Star State.

In Memoriam: Kent Keeth and Tom Charlton (From the 2019 ITS & Libraries Magazine)

Since 2018, the Libraries and ITS saw the passing of two influential members of the Baylor family, each of whom played an important role in the history of the University Libraries. Kent Keeth, longtime director of The Texas Collection (1973-2003) passed away at age 79, and Dr. Thomas Charlton, founding director of the Institute for Oral History, passed away at age 82. Both Keeth and Charlton guided their respective areas into new and influential positions in the world of scholarly resources and the preservation of personal histories, respectively, and the University Libraries and ITS join together in celebrating their lives in this brief tribute.
Keeth greatly expanded the holdings of The Texas Collection by widening its collecting focus to include not only historic archival holdings and artifacts but also contemporary materials like cookbooks and postcards. He was also the author of a popular series of articles on Baylor’s history, and he and his wife, Lucy, helped establish the Sanger Heights Neighborhood Association.
Charlton was, as his IOH colleagues stated in an online tribute, a “giant in the oral history profession.” He oversaw the Institute’s growth from a small program to a nationally-recognized Institute. His zeal for collecting the stories of those who witnessed and made history was unmatched, and the resulting collection of oral memoirs – most of which are now available in digital form as part of the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections – have shaped scholars’ understanding and knowledge about events local, regional, and national. 
Today, The Texas Collection is the preeminent repository of all things Texana, and the Institute for Oral History – in addition to being a leading light in the field – has become a valued part of the University Libraries organization. Simply put, the current makeup of the University Libraries would be much different, and less rich, were it not for the contributions of these two men, who are greatly missed by their many friends and colleagues.

This story originally appeared in the 2019 Baylor University ITS & Libraries Magazine. To join our mailing list for future editions, email us at university_libraries@baylor.edu.

Poage Library at 40: A New Director and A Bright Future (From the 2019 ITS & Libraries Magazine)

On September 21, 1979, dignitaries from around the nation gathered on a sunny Waco afternoon to dedicate a new $1.5 million 25,000 square feet facility on the Baylor campus. The new library was built to house an office for the recently retired Texas Congressman W. R. “Bob” Poage, his extensive archives, several new political collections, a reading room, and the Baylor graduate school. Forty years later, the W. R. Poage Legislative Library continues to thrive with an active Graduate Research Center, its beautiful Jack E. Hightower Book Vault, a growing number of political archives, and initiatives designed to encourage political research and civic engagement.

Mary Goolsby was selected in January to serve as the library’s new director. She began her work with the library in 2008, most recently serving as interim director, and hopes to continue to fulfill the original vision for this congressional research center.

“Congressman Poage imagined this library as a living institution and my goal is to welcome a new generation of researchers both at Baylor and beyond to use our archives,” said Goolsby. “We are already making our collections more accessible online and developing personal connections with faculty, graduate students and outside organizations whose interests match those of the library.” Goolsby also hopes to increase the engagement of History Fair students with the archives and continue the library’s involvement in Baylor School of Education’s iEngage Summer Civics Institute.

Beyond developing and extending the use of the library, Goolsby and the Poage staff are also in the process of designing a new permanent exhibit that will greet everyone who walks into the foyer. The exhibit will feature the two signature political collections of the library—the Bob Poage and Bob Bullock archives—along with highlights from a number of others.

In addition to featuring the collections, the exhibit will serve as an invitation to viewers to examine public service. “By representing the men and women of many backgrounds who have served the United States, Texas and Waco, we hope the exhibit will highlight our collections and encourage future generations to follow in the footsteps of these leaders,” said Goolsby. If all goes according to schedule, the exhibit should be open next summer.

To honor Poage Library’s 40th anniversary an open house will be held Friday, September 20, and in November the Standing Committee, the supporting organization for the library, will gather for a celebration at McLane Stadium. As director, Goolsby hopes to extend the work of those who have served before her and leave a lasting legacy, “When I retire, I hope that the reputation of the W. R. Poage Legislative Library will have grown among scholars and that I will have helped mentor the next generation of leaders for the Baylor Libraries.”

This story originally appeared in the 2019 Baylor University ITS & Libraries Magazine. To join our mailing list for future editions, email us at university_libraries@baylor.edu.