Though most of the current denizens of the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) are too young to appreciate it, the campus’s flagship library turns 40 this year, which is significant in the life of a modern library given the change that the institution has experienced in the last couple of decades.
When PCL was conceived, it was believed that the new building would accommodate the growth in physical collections for the foreseeable future and serve a population of ; little did our 20th century forebears imagine the impact digital technologies and a global information network would have on the preservation, storage and distribution of knowledge.
With the upcoming celebration of the Perry-Castañeda Library’s 40th anniversary on the horizon, let’s take a moment to look back at what else was happening back in 1977…
- Biochemist Lorene Rogers is president of The University of Texas at Austin, and Harold Billings is director of the university’s General Libraries, and enrollment at UT is 41,660.
- Dolph Briscoe is the governor of Texas, Austin has a population of 321,900 (now 947,890), and Texas has 13.19 million (now 27.86 million).
- Median income: $13,572. Average cost of: a house — $54,200; a car — ~$4,300; a gallon of gas — $0.62; annual tuition, room & board — $2,411.
- Apple Computer is incorporated, and later in the year, the first Apple II series computers go on sale.
- The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough is the best-selling fiction of the year.
- Laverne & Shirley is the top rated TV show.
- The critically-acclaimed television miniseries adaption of Alex Haley’s Roots airs.
- The punk band The Clash’s debut album The Clash is released on CBS Records.
- Optical fiber is first used to carry live telephone traffic.
- The first Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre opens in San Jose, California.
- George Lucas’s Star Wars opens in cinemas and becomes the highest-grossing film of its time. Woody Allen’s Annie Hall wins the Oscar for Best Picture. Also released: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Eraserhead, and Smokey and the Bandit.
- Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night,” is Billboard’s Top Hot 100 single for the year, and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors is the top-selling album.
- Elvis Presley, the “king of rock and roll”, dies in his home in Graceland at age 42.
- Jimmy Carter signs legislation creating the United States Department of Energy.
- NASA launches the Voyager 1 spacecraft.
- British punk band Sex Pistols release Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols on the Virgin Records label.
- San Francisco elects City Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official of any large city in the U.S.
- Saturday Night Fever is released, launching the careers of John Travolta and resulting in multiple hits for the Bee Gees.
- Atari, Inc. releases the Atari 2600 game console in North America.
- The first children’s cable channel The Pinwheel Network (later known as Nickelodeon), is launched.
- The first ever event is hosted at the newly opened Frank Irwin Center on November 29 when the Longhorn men’s basketball team defeats Oklahoma, 83-76.
- The Longhorn football team finishes the regular season with an 11–0 record, and running back Earl Campbell wins the Heisman Trophy, leading the nation in rushing with 1,744 yards.
What were you doing in 1977?
Once again the summer break has provided enough clearance for us to undertake a major renovation project, and mirroring last summer, that effort is occurring at the Fine Arts Library.
Dovetailing with last year’s completion of the Foundry — a creative maker space loaded with technology and production tools — the fourth floor of FAL has been cleared of physical resources in an effort to create space that blurs the line between classroom and library.
The reimagining of previous stack space will result in new classrooms and collaborative spaces to accommodate the Center for Integrated Design (CID), an interdisciplinary program administered in the College of Fine Arts that connects design, engineering, information, business, computer science and architecture programs from across the university to bring solution-focused design thinking to university curricula in a comprehensive way. The center seeks to provide all UT students the opportunity to study design methodology and apply it in creative and entrepreneurial scenarios.Students in Jared Huke’s Intro to Design Thinking course work together on a problem. Photo credit: Jared Huke
Recent expansions of CoFA curricula into areas emphasizing innovation skills and design thinking are meant to better prepare students for a professional landscape that is ever-evolving in the face of technological development. But these programs have strained the college’s existing facilities, and partnerships with the Libraries — like the CID space and the Foundry — are helping to address the needs of current and future undergrads and graduates.
The 4th floor renovation includes the creation of two large classrooms — one of which will be equipped with active learning and creative technologies — a large seminar room, a medium seminar rooms that seats 12 and two small seminar rooms. The changes will also provide new office space for the faculty and staff in CID, as well as for faculty in the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies (CAET), a primary partner with the Libraries in the development of the Foundry.
Libraries staff moved more than 100,000 books, bound journals and scores to offsite storage facilities to accommodate the new construction, and moved the remaining 195,000 items to the stacks on the fifth floor of the building. Thanks to a robust delivery system developed over the last decade, the Libraries can provide campus access to any remote materials within 48-72 hours.
The renovation is on schedule and expected to be complete in time for the opening of classes this fall.
Lorraine Haricombe says states need to follow New York’s lead and advance OER initiatives.Lorraine J. Haricombe, Vice Provost and Director, UT Libraries.
Tucked away in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement to make tuition free to eligible students at two state university systems was additional important news – a budget of $8 million had been earmarked to promote and distribute open educational resources, or online education materials that are free to access and customize for students. The two university systems have been urged to use this money to focus on high-enrollment courses, with the goal of minimizing or eliminating textbook costs for those courses. This is a very positive step toward college affordability and is exactly what we need in more states and on a national scale.
It’s no secret that the high cost of textbooks places an enormous burden on students. Textbook costs increased by an astonishing 82 percent from 2002 to 2012, a pace that is triple the rate of inflation. Open educational resources are a promising way to address issues related to both costs and education.
Advancing the use of open educational resources means upending a decades-old system, and it has the potential for pushback from institutions, bookstores, publishers and even faculty members, as there isn’t much of an incentive to transition to open educational resources versus traditional textbooks.
But it’s worth it because it is a viable solution to increasing student success. And it starts with open textbooks, which are a collection of open educational resources aggregated in a manner that resembles a traditional textbook.
As a longtime advocate of “open access,” I know that open textbooks are not the only solution to the higher education affordability problem. However, they can save students significant money not only individually, but collectively in high-enrollment classes where the combined savings are potentially large. Take, for example, OpenStax at Rice University, which offers free peer-reviewed open textbooks. It has saved students $155 million since 2012 by offering textbooks for the highest-enrollment college courses across the country. Simply stated, the advantages of using open educational resources offer students greater potential for broader access to information and education in New York, Texas or any state in between.
Open materials can also empower faculty members to change the way they teach and give them the academic freedom to tailor their course content to their students’ needs. What that exactly means for student learning and the motivations that encourage faculty to use open educational resources in their work as researchers and instructors offers an important opportunity to positively impact higher education as a whole.
Luckily some states are getting the message. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed Senate Bill 810 into law supporting the adoption of open educational resources similar to the Affordable Learning Georgia program out of the University System of Georgia, which has saved students more than $16 million through expanding the use of free and open course materials. Other states such as Florida, California, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington have enacted legislation that has expanded or stabilized open educational resources.
The momentum is also gaining traction in non-legislative initiatives. Seven of Rhode Island’s state colleges started using open-license textbooks this year in hopes of saving students at least $5 million in the next five years. And open educational resources libraries have been created at the system and/or institutional levels in Arizona, Minnesota, NewYork and Virginia without legislation. Some publishers are even trying to get into the mix.
But we need more. Moving forward, we need to convince more lawmakers in more states – and ultimately taxpayers – of the savings accrued to students and improved academic success rates for students using open educational resources versus traditional textbooks. And we need recurring appropriations to provide sustainable support for promoting and growing open educational resources in teaching and learning. With New York and several large university systems and legislative initiatives setting the example, it’s up to the rest of us to catch up and build on it.
About the Conference
January 8-10, 2018, the UT Libraries, Austin Public Library, and Austin Community College Libraries will co-host Re-think it: Libraries for a New Age, inaugurated at Grand Valley State University in 2015. The conference will be held at the University of Texas and other locations in Austin and Central Texas.
Re-think it: Libraries for a New Age will bring together academic and public librarians, administrators, technologists, architects, designers, furniture manufacturers, library users, and educators from across the country to discuss, share, learn and collectively re-think the increasingly important role libraries play in the communities that they serve.
Submit a Proposal
Re-think it is now accepting submissions for twenty-minute presentations and brief eight-minute lightning round talks that address best practices, case studies, projects, and creative ideas supporting any of the following themes.
- Develop a forward-thinking organizational culture
- Transform physical library spaces and places
- Promote innovative services, programs, or technologies
- Assess and evaluate spaces, services, technologies and programs
- Reflect community values and needs
All proposals should include:
- Proposed program title
- Name of speaker(s)
- Contact information
- Presentation description
Descriptions should be limited to 500 words for presentations and 150 words for lightning round talks.
First round of submissions accepted through August 11, 2017.
To get involved or ask questions, please email Hannah Packard at firstname.lastname@example.org.