Posted by & filed under Events.

Written by: Valerie Cummins

And now, as we enter summer, one final blog covering a Spring 2024 event and some new materials at the library.

I attended the From Artists’ Books to Zines Symposium that Special Collections held on March 23rd; it was held not just in celebration of their Biannual Artists’ Book Competition, but as part of the grand opening of Special Collections’ new zine library.

The Arists’ Books panel consisted of Dottie Love, Kathy Lovas, Christine Adame, and David Wolske, artists who have all worked with artists books as a medium, with Wolske currently a professor at UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design.

During this panel, they discussed the various elements that led them to artists books as a medium, as well as some of the ways they portrayed their art using artists books. They mentioned and referred to other book artists that both served as inspirations for their own entry into the medium and were well-known artists in the field, such as Edward Ruscha, Susan Kae Grant, Keith Smith, and Philip Zimmermann. Wolske additionally mentioned art book resources that were useful for people interested in learning the craft: Making Books by Hand, The Art of the Fold, and Keith Smith’s various books on the art of bookbinding. One of the questions from the audience was regarding creating and publishing artists’ book as more than limited runs and as commercial works instead. As an example of commercially published artists’ books, Anne Carson was brought up.

The Zine panel consisted of local zine artists and publishers, which included the Denton Zine and Art Party’s Founder and Coordinator Rachel Weaver and Assistant Coordinator Alex Khraish, Trilobite Press’s executive editor Tom Sale, and the founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Triangle Nonprofit Publishing Michael Bartels. University of North Texas lecturer and multimedia artist Meredith Cawley was also present on as part of this panel.

A green and gold patterned booklet with black and gold bordering in front of a pen pouch that says "Artists' Books to Zines'.
Zine by Valerie Cummins. Image by Valerie Cummins.

The attitude of this panel was more informal, best underlined by one of the responses to a question of what made the difference between an artist’s book and a zine: “You can lick it”. The rest of the panel discussions included discussions on issues like legal and illegal zine distribution (such as slipping zines into newspapers or mailboxes) and how zines can be not just artistic or hobby-based but a form of political activity, with Bartels providing as an example the available online zine “12 Things to do Instead of Calling the Cops”.  Zines were discussed and brought up as being works that can be created individually or as part of a collective community with others. 

After the panels, there were two workshop locations to provide the audience the opportunity to create their own zine; one hosted by the Denton Zine and Art Party and the other by Trilobite Press, who brought in a large photocopier so that participants in that room could create copies of what they made.  

The keynote speaker was Candace Hicks, a local Texas artist whose start was in artists’ books that used embroidery and fabric as their medium. The UNT Libraries’ Special Collection has one of her works, Volume LXXXVII of Common Threads, as part of its collection. She has additionally done a variety of exhibitions, including ones using gallery walls as the writing surface, and the “Many Mini Murder scenes” series, which include inset dioramas inspired by murder mystery novels.

One of the questions regarding her exhibits was whether her works were altered to fit other galleries beyond the original one they were first designed for: For one exhibit which featured the writing going around the gallery in two full lines, Hicks said that she did a great deal of editing and alterations to make it fit in the new gallery; she additionally mentioned that unplanned changes or unexpected environmental differences were common, such as a second floor that people were able to enter that allowed them to look down below; one of the exhibition items had not been designed with the expectation that people would be able to look down at it, so it had no ‘roof’ to hide the interior from that viewing angle.

Following the keynote, the audience was invited to the reception that was held for the Biennial Artists’ Book Competition, where the winners and honorable mentions for 2023-2024 were announced.

As a follow-up to the Symposium, I conducted an interview with Meagan May, the Special Collections Public Services Librarian, regarding the symposium, zines, and Special Collections’ new zine library.  

Q: What inspired the push to develop the zine library and run the zine symposium?

A: We first started noticing an interest in zines from our faculty and students about a year or two ago, as zines became more commonplace in class discussions and assignments, so this collection has been in the works for a while now. There is a lot to consider when it comes to zines in libraries, and a lot of that revolves around the ethics of purchasing zines at the institutional level, and the unique challenges that come with displaying and making zines accessible. It kind of feels like the wild west of collection development at times. I would say the foundation and decisions surrounding this collection took about a year, and for the last year we’ve been working on purchasing zines and getting the library prepared for students and visitors to browse. 

The idea for the symposium wasn’t directly inspired by our new zine library. The symposium was initially meant to be a celebration of our Biennial Artists’ Book Competition which had its latest cycle in the fall of 2023. Traditionally, we’ve held an exhibit to accompany the competition, but for this cycle we wanted to try something a little different. I had begun to notice that there was this really unique crossover that was happening with zines and artists’ books, and that the lines between the two mediums were beginning to blur in some ways. With the competition and the launch of the zine library happening so close to each other, it just made sense to combine the two into a wider topic, more general books arts symposium – and I think this really allowed us to do some fun things for the symposium.

Q: What kind of zines are you hoping to obtain in the future for the zine library? Or for yourself? Is there a specific zine you’re hoping to collect?

A: Our zine library does have a primary area of collecting focus, and that is zines related to topics of gender, identity, and sexuality. We also prioritize zines created by members of marginalized and underrepresented communities. Historically, zines have been an important means of communication for underrepresented communities because they provide a sharing news and information that wasn’t available through traditional publications and media.

 However, these aren’t the only zines we are hoping to collect. We also have a large interest in zines from our students and local community members, and those can vary significantly in topic and genre! One of the great things about zines are their ability to be about anything, and I would certainly like our collection to reflect that as it grows through zines from or by our campus and community.  

Q: Since the opening of the zine library, Special Collections has taken part in events around the library to encourage zine making and introduce it to students, staff and other community members; is there a process in place for members of the UNT community to submit their zines to the new zine library?

A: I’m so glad you asked this question! We welcome and encourage UNT Community members and others to submit their zines to the collection, and we have a couple of different ways they can do that. The first way is probably the easiest, and gives you the chance to browse the zine library. We have set up a box in our Reading Room where people can donate their zines along with an attached form that makes sure we get the information needed to add it to the collection. 

We do prioritize paying makers for their zines though, so if you’re a zine maker with an online presence or have an affiliated distro I encourage you to reach out to me ( directly with information on where your zines can be found and how it can be acquired.   

Q: What kind of challenges have you encountered with proposing the zine library and then developing its initial collection? What are the plans for displaying the zine library in the long-term?

A: I’ve been really fortunate to have full support from our Department Head, Morgan Gieringer, from the get-go on this collection so navigating its development has been a fairly smooth process, at least in terms of direct support. As mentioned above – there have been some unique collection development related challenges, but I think those are pretty universal for librarians working with zines. 

As far as permanent display goes, the plan for the foreseeable future is to continue to have a space for the zine library within the Hughes Reading Room so that is available to browse during open hours of the reading room. We have recently reconfigured half of our reading room to act as a browsable archive we’re calling the Open Stacks, and the zine library is a part of that space. We’ll be officially launching the Open Stacks this fall, but in the meantime, anyone is welcome to come in and take a look.

Q: Are you hoping to host future zine symposiums or was this one intended to be done to celebrate the zine library’s opening?

A: We’re presently hoping to continue hosting a book arts symposium biennially in conjunction with our Biennial Artists’ Book Contest. The incorporation of zines into this one was definitely due to the launch of our own zine collection. There’s a lot of different areas of book arts that we would like to explore in the future as themes for both the competition and the symposium, but nothing that been decided on just yet. You’ll have to wait for the announcement about the 2025-2026 competition cycle for that to be revealed. 

Q: This symposium was combined with the artists’ book competition reception and featured a panel regarding artists’ book. What do you feel is the similarity between artists’ books and zines? How would you define both in ways that distinguish them?

A: It’s strange to thing about the similarities between artists’ books and zines when they seem to be on opposite ends of the book arts spectrum in some ways. Historically, zines are rooted in their ease of reproduction so they’re often considered ‘cheap’ or ephemeral, and artists’ books are literally books as art objects, right? So it seems strange to view them through similar lens, but artists’ have long been interested in zines and zine creation. The Brookyln Museum even held an exhibit, Copy Machine Manifestos: Artists Who Make Zines, earlier this year exploring artists’ zines and their history and impact.

For me, what I have been coming across more and more and has been raising questions at least in my mind, are zine makers incorporating more artistic elements into zines by using different bindings and folding techniques, more complex print making and reproduction methods, and even sculptural elements through the shapes of their zines and the containers they come in. These elements seem to blur those points of distinction between artists’ books and zines, and tend to leave me with more questions than answers. I’m definitely interested in further exploring this cross-over though as I continue working with zines and artists’ books in my capacity at UNT. 

Q: I noticed that many of artist’s book panelists were connected to the UNT community; was that coincidental or did that play a role in approaching them?

A: This was definitely not coincidental. Since this was our inaugural symposium, we really weren’t sure the kind of response we’d receive if we put out a call for proposals for traditional presentations and sessions. To avoid any issues with programming, we decided to curate panels composed of invited guests that had previously worked with Special Collections through instruction or outreach. This included several UNT faculty members, but also a TWU faculty member, regional book artists, and local community organizations. 

The only speaker who had not previously worked with Special Collections was our keynote, artist Candace Hicks, but even then, she’s still connected to our collections. We invited her as our keynote based on the interaction students have had with the volume of her Common Threads series that’s in our artists’ book collection. During artists’ book related instruction sessions, her work is often one of the first examples students are introduced to and interact with so we felt like inviting her to be our keynote would be a draw for students and faculty who work with our collection. 

Special Collections can be visited on the fourth floor of Willis Library in 437, the Sarah T. Hughes Reading Room, during their listed hours.


UNT Libraries. (2024) 13th Biennial Artists’ Book Competition Winners.

UNT Libraries. (2024) From Artists’ Books to Zines.

Posted by & filed under Library Resources, Research Help.

Written by: Lakshmi Dubey

As we wrap up the Spring 2024 semester, we wanted to highlight some of the library’s most popular services.   

I have provided an overview of some of the services, as well as changes, at Willis Library: 

Checkout materials: Anyone with a valid card will be able to checkout items from the library such as books, music items, media, and all other formats. Students, faculty, staff, and community members can enter with valid ID cards. The checkout period for each item varies. Most of the items can be checked out  UNT library collections, unless noted as “Lib Use Only” or placed on reserves are available for borrowing by patrons. Borrowing policies vary depending on the type of material and library patron.   

Course Reserves: The UNT library contains and distributes course materials which include materials and textbooks. These are available online as well which can include books, articles, CD’s, DVD’s and videos. Students can access the books which are placed on hold by their instructor. Students can visit the course reserves page to search for the material in the catalog. These materials are usually kept at the first-floor service desk.  

Courtesy Cards: Want to borrow materials from UNT? Courtesy cards allows community members to borrow materials even if you are not enrolled at UNT. Individuals can apply for courtesy cards by submitting a courtesy card application form or in person in the library.   

Checkout Laptops: UNT offers access to laptops to currently enrolled UNT students. Laptops are offered to students while supplies last. The Spark administers a laptop borrowing initiative with multiple loan duration options available during each semester such as standard, long term and extended. Among these, the most popular is the semester-long laptop lending program, which provides a limited number of both Mac and Dell laptops for a single semester. 

Interlibrary Loan: Need a document which is not within the UNT collection? We got you! UNT provides a service where patrons can request documents which are not present in the UNT collection which is known as Interlibrary loan and Document Delivery. These services are available to UNT faculty and staff, currently enrolled UNT students only, not for non-UNT students and courtesy card holders.   

Media Library: The Media Library has moved to the second floor of the Willis library, media library offers multiple gaming stations, gaming boards, consoles which individuals and groups can access, and multiple virtual reality devices. Students would need to place an online hold on the item before the item is checked out.   

Patrons playing games at Media Library
Media Library on the second floor of Willis by Lakshmi Dubey

On and Off Campus Access: The electronic databases provided by UNT libraries can be accessed by any UNT faculty, student, or staff members from any computer in the world. Off campus, will require you to login with your EUID and password.  

Online Resources: There are multiple online resources present in the library through which patrons will be able to get assistance in order to access the electronic databases, journals, e-books, and other digital resources for their research purposes.

Printing, Scanning, Photocopies: Need to print a document out? UNT Libraries have multiple printers, scanners and copiers located throughout the libraries. Students, faculty, and staff will use their EUID and password to access printers throughout the libraries.   

Research Assistance: Librarians and library staff provide research assistance, helping patrons navigate through the library resources, locate materials, and develop strategies to search. 

Spaces, technology, and computing: Libraries provide several different technology and computing-related resources for patrons which can use. The libraries have several computers available for available for both UNT faculty, students, and staff as well as designated computers for community members. 

Study Spaces: Want a personal study space or want to study in a group? We got you covered! Willis and Sycamore libraries provide spaces which include quiet study pods, group study rooms and computer labs.  Students must visit the online scheduling tool to book their study pod/room by logging in with their EUID/password. Spaces are limited to being scheduled only for 2 hours and cannot be scheduled more than 2 weeks in advance.   

Patron using the study pod at lower level of Willis library
Study Pod from lower level of Willis by Lakshmi Dubey

The Spark: The Spark desk is available on the first floor opposite the service desk, they are available to assist the students in checking out laptops, equipment, assist students with their queries regarding printers, scanners. Spark provides students access to equipment, software, and training that promotes cross disciplinary learning.

SPARK desk at first floor of Willis by Lakshmi

Special Collections: A collection of unique primary source research materials is available in the special collections, which are available on the 4th floor of the Willis library. Multiple historical documents, rare books, manuscripts, archives, and other unique materials are present in the special collections department for research purposes.   

Willis Library Lockers: UNT offers graduate student lockers for a semester in the Willis Library. Lockers are assigned on a first come first served basis. Notifications are sent via email to students that have been chosen to receive a locker.

Writing Center: UNT library offers writing support services such as workshops and multiple other resources to help students to improve their academical writing and their writing skills.  

The services offered in the library are based on the user needs, and are presented to support students, faculty, staff, and different communities. People from different libraries can also access this library as it is a public library. 


UNT Libraries. (2024). Media Library. UNT Libraries. 

University Libraries. (n.d.). Check out materials. UNT Libraries. 

UNT Writing Center. (n.d.). Home. UNT.

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Compiled by: Abbie Teel

Similarly to last semester, two GSAs undertook research on databases of their preference for one of their projects. They delivered presentations covering various aspects such as background information, materials/collections, target audience, features, search functionalities, and more. I have compiled key highlights with the help of the presenters, from these presentations so that anyone interested can easily access and explore them. Both of these presentations were on science-related databases.

Two computer monitors in a dimly lit room.
Sorsenson, J. (2018). Black Flat Screen Computer Monitor.

Devika Jagarlamudi

Name of Database: Web of Science

 Link to the database –

Audience: Researchers and academics (for tracking literature, citations, and research impact), Research institutions (for evaluating performance, showcasing output, and analyzing collaborations) and Funders, publishers (to evaluate the influence of research projects and journals).

Topics Covered: The Web of Science offers comprehensive multidisciplinary coverage, covering scholarly journals, books, and conference proceedings in fields ranging from the sciences and social sciences to arts and humanities. Additionally, it includes regional databases such as the Chinese Science Citation database, KCI-Korean Journal, and Russian Science Citation Index.


  • Advanced Search: Allows complex searches using Boolean operators (AND, OR NOT), truncation and field tags to combine different metadata concepts like titles, authors, journals, etc.
  • Citation Search: Find articles that have cited a specific paper you’re interested in and can access high impact articles within the database.
  • Saved Searches: Create a personalized list for future reference.
  • Create Alerts: Set up email alerts to stay updated when new relevant papers get published.
  • Export Citations: Export citations in various formats like Bib Tex, Excel EndNote, etc.
  • Suggest a Correction: If you spot an error, you can suggest corrections to publication records.

Information About Searching:

Web of Science makes it easy to find the research papers and information you need. You can use advanced search techniques like combining keywords with AND, OR, NOT to get very specific results. The search can look for terms in different fields like title, author name, journal name, and more. You can filter your search results by factors like publication date, document type (journal article, book, etc.), author, and institution. This will help narrow it down to the most relevant items. With some practice using the different search options, you’ll be able to quickly locate the scholarly publications you need from the vast collection in Web of Science. The flexible search tools allow you to be as broad or specific as required.

Subject Librarian: Pilar Baskett

Pranathi Akula

Name of Database: Medline Database

The intended audience for the Medline database are healthcare professionals, researchers, students, educators, policymakers, and anyone with an interest in biomedical literature.

Topic/s Covered:

Medline covers a wide range of topics in medical and life sciences fields. It contains biomedical literature, containing citations and abstracts, peer-reviewed articles, conference abstracts, systemic reviews, clinical trials, case studies and many more from journals in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and healthcare systems.


  • Searching tips: The database as special feature, searching tips which provide tips to users and guide them on searching in the database.
  • Advanced search: This advanced search allows users to narrow down the results using “limit to”, “publication date” and many other filters allowing the users to get the exact results they need.
  • Filters: This feature allows users to filter the results by study type, author, journal, and the location of the key word in the article, if the keyword must be in title, abstract, body or another part of the article.
  • Boolean Operators: And, or not Boolean operators are present in the advanced search feature to get specified results.
  • Permalinks: Permalinks for articles are present which enables in easy sharing and citation of the articles.
  • Citation: Users can choose the style of citation and can export the reference to various citation managers like RefWorks, EasyBib, EndNote and many more.
  • Compatibility: The database is compatible with smartphones allowing users to access the database everywhere.

Information About Searching:

 Users can start browsing topics related to biomedical field in the search bar of the database. First time users can use the feature, searching tips and start searching for articles. Users can use the advanced search option which allows them to filter suing publication date, author, and location of the key words in the articles. This will help in narrowing down the results t more relevant and specific results Boolean operators (AND, OR NOT) can be used to get specific results. Users can start experimenting with all the special features and advanced search features to get the scholarly and peer-reviewed publications from a huge collection of the Medline database. The cool features allow users to get specific results as need by the users.

Subject Librarian: Pilar Baskett

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by: Abbie Teel


The Access Services department at Willis Library, located on the University of North Texas main campus, functions as the primary public facing department for research and reference inquiries. Access Services is the first front desk patrons encounter when entering the library. Access Services houses the popular ‘AskUs’ Team who assist patrons with research needs. Comprised of faculty, staff, Graduate Services Assistants (GSAs), and Library Service Student Assistants (LSAAs), this department is very diverse and serves a wide spectrum of patrons and academic disciplines

This informal research study stems from a discussion initiated by a question that was directed to the AskUs email, typically answered by the GSAs, regarding Algae Blooms. Despite lacking natural science degrees, a collaborative effort between a part time employee (myself) and a staff member ensued to locate optimal resources for the patron. Subsequently, the inquiry was escalated to the science subject librarian—the perfect resource for advanced research that could be considered niche within different fields. However, after the email was sent, the part time employee and staff member were discussing the interesting topic and another, different staff member overheard the conversation and shared that they had a substantial background in science with multiple concentrations. This individual then shared some really interesting, fun facts about Algae Blooms all from memory. Needless to say, it was rather impressive.  

Informal Study 

The conversation between these three employees sparked a question: what academic backgrounds do employees in Access Services have, aside from the GSAs who are required to be pursuing higher degrees within the College of Information? A survey was distributed that posed 10 questions to employees of the Access Services department. 20 responses were recorded.  

To establish background on this casual study, out of the 20 responses, 15% were faculty, 25% were staff, 20% were GSAs, 35% were LSAAs, and 5% were part-time.  

Pie chart showing percentages of employee responses

Undergraduate Degrees in the Department 

Regarding undergraduate qualifications, 75% of respondents possessed undergraduate degrees, 20% were actively pursuing such degrees, and 5% did not have and were not pursuing an undergraduate degree. Analysis of the specific fields of undergraduate study revealed a diverse array of disciplines within Access Services, encompassing 12 distinct fields.  

Notable among these were degrees in English, with diverse subfields including Linguistics, Technical Communications, Creative Writing, Literature, and Cultural Studies, alongside specialized domains such as Civil Engineering, Social Work, Dental Surgery, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information Science, and Journalism. Additionally, respondents often had received minors, reflecting multidisciplinary educational trajectories, with fields including Japanese, French, Business Foundation, Psychology, and Philosophy. 

Graduate Degrees in Department 

A significant proportion of respondents were either currently pursuing or had already obtained graduate degrees. Specifically, 40% were actively engaged in graduate studies, 35% possessed graduate qualifications, and 25% did not have and were not pursuing a graduate degree. Surprisingly, all graduate degrees represented within the department, including those of non-GSAs, were from the College of Information, encompassing disciplines such as Library Science, Data Science, and Information Science, with various specializations. 

Pie chart of percentages that hold graduate degrees

When asked about degrees and certificates that did not fall in the traditional undergraduate and graduate degree classifications, the following were listed: 

  • Asian Studies 
  • Associate Degrees in Science 
  • Advanced Management in Libraries and Information Agencies 

Furthering Education 

When questioned about their interest in furthering education, 42.4% expressed a willingness to pursue another degree in the future. Notably, respondents showcased a wide array of aspirations regarding their future educational endeavors. 

  • Masters in English 
  • Ph.D. in Information Science  
  • Master’s in History 
  • Master’s in Film Production 
  • Masters/Ph.D. in Anthropology 
  • Ph.D. in Learning Technologies  
  • Master’s in Creative Writing with a Nonfiction Concentration 


One recurring theme in the data is the prevalence of humanities backgrounds among Access Services personnel. This suggests a strong aptitude for creative expression and effective communication skills. As the department serves as a public-facing department within the library, patrons can trust that they’ll encounter employees with diverse competencies. Whether directly addressing inquiries or facilitating assistance, these personnel are well-equipped to meet the needs of patrons with confidence. 

Another prominent theme is the department’s emphasis on rich educational diversity and evident interdisciplinary collaboration. This highlights a strong commitment to embracing individuals from diverse academic backgrounds and nurturing a culture of teamwork. By fostering such inclusivity, the department encourages innovative problem-solving, which ultimately leads to more effective outcomes for the patrons it serves. This dual focus on educational diversity and interdisciplinary collaboration not only enriches the department’s collective knowledge but also enhances its ability to meet the diverse needs of its patrons with creative and efficient solutions. 

At the front desk, patrons can expect excellent service, and yet there is even more assistance available for advanced research needs. One valuable resource provided by the library is the opportunity to meet with a subject librarian. These experts have extensive knowledge and backgrounds across various fields. You can easily explore the list of subject librarians and search by field, topic, or name. 


The data, overall, suggests a strong emphasis on education and career advancement within the Access Services community, with a notable interest in both traditional and emerging fields of study. No matter the area patrons require support in, Access Services is more than ready to assist.  


 University Libraries. (n.d.). Subject Librarians.  

Posted by & filed under Library Resources.

Written by: Ashra

A person in a dark room is playing the video game Super Mario Brothers on a screen. The person’s features are illuminated in a dark blue light.
Photo of Man Playing Super Mario Bros, taken by Anurag Sharma and licensed under Pexels

The UNT Media Library is a hotspot for students and faculty alike. Its diverse selection of tabletop, video, and board games provide a wide array of options for patrons to peruse. Nestled inside of this assortment is the Media Library’s special Legacy Collection, consisting of over 500 rare and/or older games that can be checked out for patron use in the library. 

This semester, I had the pleasure of interviewing some staff members who work at UNT’s Media Library about their game collection, diving more in-depth about their exclusive Legacy games and consoles. These titles consist of anywhere from the Atari to even the Nintendo Wii, which is now considered retro! 

I spoke with three staff members at the Media Library about the hidden gems in their collection: Steven Guerrero, the Media Arts and Digitization Librarian; Diane Robson, the Games and Education Librarian, and finally Brendan, one of the Digitization Student Assistants currently employed. Diane has been at the library in some shape or form since 1989, and Steven since 2008. Both were originally employed as Student Assistants. Brendan has been employed as a Student Assistant since this last October, in 2023. 

The Media Library – An Overview

As of writing, the Media Library carries almost 3,000 video games, roughly 16.67% of which are cataloged within their Legacy Collection. I asked whether either of the librarians had any idea of how much the collection was worth; they quite honestly informed me that they had no clue. It can be difficult to measure the worth of a game (or multiple games), especially when prices fluctuate irregularly due to rarity or obscurity. The Media Library’s collection is especially hard to quantify due to its sheer variety of games. While a number of libraries have begun cataloging games, it is especially unique of the Media Library to allow students to play these games, rather than merely archive them. 

While the Media Library has been a part of UNT Libraries since the 1970s, its role today as the place to go for all types of games did not come into form until much more recently, in 2009. The Media Library was mostly used to carry and showcase its collection of 1,100 16-millimeter slides, a type of film recording that predates VHS tapes. These films were largely used for educational purposes until the 2000s, when movies migrated online. With their library almost devoid of use, Diane alongside Sue Parks decided to start collecting video games using a grant that began with two gaming stations. Quickly, they regained and then overcame their lost userbase.  

More recently, Student Affairs serviced $200,000 to build a more modern space within the Media Library, with the overall goal to create an eSports hub. To this day, the hub is often used by UNT’s eSports teams. 

Collection Development – Gotta Catch ‘em All! 

The Media Library’s collection development process was never merely a library endeavor; it was a University of North Texas endeavor in full. What started with some gaming stations for students blossomed into research materials for faculty in the Game Design program, an auxiliary space for eSports teams, and a collaboration with the student body as a whole. Thanks to university-wide support, the Media Library was able to become what students love about it today. 

Using the money provided by grants and the University, the Media Library began collecting games in earnest. What started as a Wii, an Xbox and a PlayStation evolved into older, rarer consoles once the library had the funds to support the endeavor. When hunting for rare games, Diane’s favorite haunting grounds are the online sales platform eBay. Other than eBay, high volume of the rarer items in the collection are also donations. 

One of the rarest and strangest items in the Legacy Collection is the Fairchild Channel F, a console from 1976 that runs games on computer chip cartridges. The Media Library staff happened across this console on eBay for roughly $800. The process of attaining the Channel F is a testament to the struggles of developing the Legacy Collection; purchasing requests like these must go through Collection Management. Bidding requires more paperwork, so the Buy It Now option is the library’s best bet. The biggest problem is time; after everything is finally processed, the eBay listing may already be sold.  

A set amount of money is set aside within the budget every fiscal year for the Media Librarians to use on rare and unique situations such as the Fairchild Channel F. When something truly special pops up, Diane has also gone to their Division Head to request extra funding. Rarely, if ever, have they been refused. 

Troubles in Gamer’s Paradise

The Media Library’s collection development process is not without its challenges, however. In the summer of 2023, one such donor offered to send his games over to the library. What came in consisted of roughly five hundred old, rare games, all of which were coated in dirt. Each item had to be cleaned twice before the games could be tested one by one, a painstakingly slow process.  

Another big challenge the Media Library battles is the force of time. Older games and consoles may require adaptors or specific TVs in order for them to run at the correct parameters. However, when the media in question is too old, sometimes it can be hard to tell what the problem exactly is. Even worse, sometimes game just outright stop working. Some games can be fixed, but other times it seems like the game won’t ever play. Nevertheless, nothing that has stopped working has been thrown out by the Media Library.  

Another question the library struggles with is how much to fix in a game. When a game or console requires repairs that remove its original hardware, is it now an emulator? And if so, does that make it unfit for the library’s purpose as a host of rare, original hardware?  

Two people laying in bed and playing a video game together. Both of them are holding video game controllers in their hands. Their heads cannot be seen.
Unrecognizable black man and kid playing in bedroom, taken by Ketut Subiyanto and licensed under Pexels

Conclusion – Keep Gaming On 

As a final send-off to the collection, I asked everyone what they are most proud of in the Media Library. Diane said that it is still here after all this time, Steven that the library has opened so many new possibilities in collection development, and Brendan its flexibility, as well as its expansive legacy media.  

A final fun fact about the library: Diane was recently killed by Scrappy in Plasmophobia! That’s right, even Scrappy the Eagle uses the Media Library from time to time!

For more information about the Media Library, peruse its Gaming Collections or Game Introduction. 

Go, Mean Green Gamers! 

Toy figures of (L to R) Luigi, Yoshi, and Mario stand side by side on a gravel road.

Focus Photo of Super Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi Figurines, taken by Pixabay and licensed under Pexels

Posted by & filed under Library Resources.

Written by: Valerie Cummins

One student population that is regularly underserved and receives little support is the student veteran population; university life and coursework is vastly different from the experiences veterans of all branches have from their time in, and joining university after military service can require a great deal of adjustment, even for veterans who have had any experience with university before. Student veterans at the University of North Texas have a great deal of their university needs met through the Student Veteran Services office, where there is not just staff assistance, but regular support as a place student veterans hang out with each other. This post is intended as not just an introduction to the demographics of veteran students, which can inform their library needs, but is intended as a short guide to services and resources available within the UNT Libraries that student veterans may not be aware of that could be of use to them, from the perspective of a fellow veteran.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, student veterans are a particularly unique population; from the enrolment information the VA collected from 2017,  most student veterans are between the ages of 24 through 40, with only 15% being part of the traditional age for first time college students. 47% of all student veterans have children, with 47.3% being married. Student veterans are first-generation college students at a higher percentage- 62% for the whole demographic- compared to the 41.5% that makes up UNT’s undergraduate population. 52% of veterans using education benefits were enrolled in an undergraduate program and only 9% were using their benefits for a graduate program. The rest were in a two-year school or vocation, technical or nondegree program.  As a result, many student veterans are in a unique position, fitting several nontraditional student types. Beyond this post which covers some resources, any student veterans who are first generation or are in a graduate program may find this Scholar Speak post on resources for first generation students useful.

Help Yourself Campaign

A red enter keyboard key with the word "veteran" on it
A red enter keyboard key with the word “veteran” on it. By icetrayimages794410 from, using a free license.

The Help Yourself Campaign is a unique guide that covers a wide variety of potentially sensitive personal topics meant to help anyone be able to find books on the topic and related resources online, in the DFW area, and on the UNT campus. The topics cover everything from adjusting to college, to practicing mindfulness, with one topic tab covering veteran resources on their own. As a guide, it’s a great tool to use for finding things that cover hard topics that one may not want to directly bring up to a stranger.

Ask Us & Subject Librarians

Like many libraries, the UNT Libraries are not unique in offering reference and research services. Ask Us is a reference service that can help with questions about the library, its services, as well as offer basic assistance with things such as finding articles and getting started with research, offering the ability to connect and get assistance through anonymous chat, text, email, or in-person. Subject Librarians are librarians who focus on reference and research in their subjects, and as a result can provide more targeted assistance with identifying resources and doing advanced research. 

Specialized Reserve Equipment

Beyond just books reserved for classes, the libraries have a variety of specialized equipment available for check-out from the service desks that can be a help for a variety of studying needs, with Willis Library’s service desk offering the widest variety. These range from the project and math kits which include things such as rulers, protractors or glue sticks depending on the kit, vocabulary flashcards for all of the languages offered at UNT, translator devices, book stands and book lights, calculators, to lap desks, sensory kits to help with tuning out distractions or destressing, and kid kits that are available for checkout with a range of age-appropriate activities for younger kids if they join you for studying or searching for books at the library. While the services and resources available through the library are not infinite, they are vast, and any attempt to break them down will leave something out. Beyond these resources, the libraries additionally have many events that can be found in our calendar meant for all kinds of students.  

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by: Devika Jagarlamudi 

As we Kick off on a new semester here at the University of North Texas Libraries, we have an engaging lineup of events planned for students, faculty, staff, and visitors. From workshops to films, exhibits to Storytimes, there is something for everyone this spring. Please see our calendar for the most up to date listings, but below are some highlights you won’t want to miss. 

Got Kids? We’ve got you covered with Family Study Hours stuffed with activities so you can jam on your research projects in peace while the little ones play while you tap into our resources and expertise. Join us on March 6th, 19th, April 2nd, 12th, and May 7th in Willis 250H. Come take advantage of our family friendly study sessions and get your work done while the kids enjoy themselves. Check out our Student-Parent and Family Resources guide for a full list of events and more information.  

We’re happy that the Student Snapshot Symposium is returning again this spring to spotlight our library assistants. On April 10th from 1- 4pm, we’re converting Room 250H into a stage just for our talented student library assistants to showcase their knowledge and passion gained from working behind the scenes in circulation, tech services, reference, outreach, and special projects where they do presentations, artistic posters, or other innovative formats.  

Need to seriously crush those last few chapters of your Honors thesis? Give it what it needs at the upcoming Honors Thesis Camp. We’ve perfectly optimized the environment to help you crush those chapters. No distractions allowed – just you, your laptop, and dozens of other determined Honors students, motivated to transform their manuscripts into works of art. Enjoy snacks, swag, and advisors on standby to address any thesis troubles. Come inhabit our productivity bubble on March 26th, 27th and April 23rd, 24th in Willis 250J. 

Calling all bookworms! UNT Libraries Monthly Books display offers a revolving cycle of different literary adventures. Every month, we create a new theme to attract readers of all kinds. From timely topics to timeless classics, you never know what curated selection our library employees will cook up next. Additionally, don’t miss our semester-long book displays, with this semester’s theme being “Books for You”. Swing by the first floor of Willis Library and check that out. 

Mark your calendars for a special Bookmark making event on April 2nd. We’ll be setting it up outside the entrance near Willis, ready to help you decorate bookmarks perfect for all your spring reads. Join us as part of the library’s events and leave with a custom bookmark you’ll want to use again and again. This crafting event is one you won’t want to miss! 

Students working on crafting their own bookmarks by Anna Esparza from the UNT Digital Library  

Bored on campus? Looking for something fun to do with friends? Well, get ready to level up your downtime with the Media Library’s Tabletop Time events this spring! Every month they’ll be hosting themed game nights with popcorn and snacks to fuel the fun. In March it is all about showing off your dexterity skills and while in April, gather your crew for Party Games. Drop by Willis library on March 7th and April 4th   from 2-4 pm for a much needed break. 

Media Library tabletop by Anna Esparza from the UNT Digital Library 

The Spark is celebrating National Crafting Month with Crafting Hours at all locations including Willis, Discovery Park and Frisco Landing in March. For tech-savvy students, Spark has also a lineup of workshops and events which offers a splash of everything – resources, software, and more. Check out their workshop series plus intro courses. Additionally, the Spark also provides hands-on workshops in laser cutting, Milling, 3D printing and many more which are perfect for bringing your creative ideas to life. Learn how to design objects and make them a reality using the high-tech tools available. Level up your DIY skills and produce custom creations at one of these maker workshops. 

Spark 3-D printing workstation at Willis by Anna Esparza from the UNT Digital Library 

With so many cool events happening this spring, there’s something for every interest at the library. Don’t miss out on these fun opportunities to learn, create, and connect. Let us know which events you’re most excited about in the comments! Please reach out to AskUs if you have any additional questions. 


UNT Libraries. (n.d.). UNT Libraries Calendar Retrieved February 21, 2024, from   

The Spark. (n.d).The spark : Events/ Instruction/ Outreach at university of North Texas. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from  

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by: Pranathi Akula

As we step into Willis Library, we’re greeted with exciting changes and enhancements that promise to enrich the academic journey of every student and visitor. I want to provide a comprehensive list of the recent updates that have transformed this hub of knowledge and learning into an even more dynamic space. 

Media Library Relocation 

One significant update that has caught the attention of many is the relocation of the Media Library from Chilton Hall to the 2nd floor of Willis Library. Spring 2024 marked the milestone as we bid farewell to our previous location and embraced the new space within Willis. This move not only consolidates resources but also enhances accessibility, providing students with easier access to a wealth of multimedia materials (UNT Libraries, 2024a). 

The integration of the Media Library within Willis Library brings several benefits to the University of North Texas community. Students now have seamless access to a wide range of multimedia resources, including DVDs, Blu-rays, streaming services, gaming equipment such as Xbox, PlayStation 5, Nintendo and many more, all conveniently located within the heart of the campus. You can look at the equipment we have for check out in “Equipment” page of media library.  

Furthermore, Moving the media library inside Willis Library will hopefully encourage students to explore their creative side and take a break from their studies.

Media library service desk on second floor of Willis library. Image by Pranathi Akula
Media library on second floor of Willis library. Image by Pranathi Akula

Self-Service Pickup at Willis 

Nestled within the Willis Library, the Willis Self-Service Pickup offers students a seamless and efficient way to access library materials. Located on the first floor, this innovative solution provides lockers equipped with touchscreen interfaces, allowing students to retrieve their items at their convenience, even outside of regular service desk hours. Accommodations for accessibility needs can be easily arranged during the hold process, ensuring inclusivity for all users. Items remain available for pickup for 48 hours, granting ample time for retrieval, while media and music audio collection items maintain their own designated pickup locations within the library. With Willis Self-Service Pickup, accessing knowledge has never been easier or more accessible (UNT Libraries, 2024b). 

Image showing Self-service pick up by the service desk at Willis first floor
Willis Self-service pickup on first floor of Willis library by the service desk. Image by Pranathi Akula

Willis Library Book Displays 

Among the exciting additions to Willis Library is the introduction of the Willis Library Book Displays. These displays serve as focal points for showcasing a diverse array of books, ranging from new releases to timeless classics. With an extensive collection at our disposal, the Featured Books display takes center stage, captivating students, and visitors alike with its thematic selections. 

Located on the first floor of Willis Library, the Featured Books display readers to embark on literary adventures tailored to their interests. The theme for Spring 2024 is “Books for YOU,” designed to offer readers a book that aligns with their personalities and interests. For instance, there will be selections like “Books for the Mathematician” and “Books for the Foodie” and many more. (UNT Libraries, 2024c). 

Students who wish to explore the available books can access an online display featuring a list of the books found on these displays, which they can check out using the link “Book displays”.   

Book Display on first floor of Willis library. Image by Abby Stovall

Final Thoughts 

As Willis Library continues to evolve and innovate, these updates reflect our ongoing commitment to providing an enriching educational experience for all. Whether you’re seeking knowledge, inspiration, or simply a moment of respite, Willis Library welcomes you to explore, engage, and discover the wonders that await within its walls. 

I highly recommend coming to see the changes in Willis Library and with that, check out our books, media, and updates. We look forward to embarking on this journey of discovery together. 

Visit Willis Library today and embark on your next literary adventure!


UNT Libraries. (2024, February 2024). Media Library. 

UNT Libraries. (2024, February 2024). Online Holds. 

UNT Libraries. (2024, February 2024). Willis Library Book Displays. 

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Compiled by: Abbie Teel

Hands typing on computer.
CottonBro Studio. (2023). Person using Macbook Pro On Table.

Curious to explore the engaging and educational databases housed within the UNT Libraries catalog?

During this semester, three GSAs undertook research on databases of their preference for one of their projects. They delivered presentations covering various aspects such as background information, materials/collections, target audience, features, search functionalities, and more. I have compiled key highlights with the help of the presenters, from these presentations, including my own, so that anyone interested can easily access and explore them.

Name: Abbie Teel

Database: Everyday Life & Women in America c. 1800-1920

Link to PowerPoint Presentation

Audience: Adults: Researchers (i.e., historians, educators, higher education students, anyone interested in gaining insights into the daily lives and experiences of women in the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries). It would be helpful for anyone who studies Women’s Studies, History, Literature, or Education.

Topics Covered: Cookery, Education, Farming, Fashion and Beauty, Marginalized Voices, Medicine, Political and Social Issues, Popular Fiction and Sensational Literature, Racism and Representations of Race, Religion, Women’s Advice Literature, Work

Features: This database encompasses a broad range of subjects through digitized materials like monographs, pamphlets, periodicals, rare books, and broadsides. These materials were sourced from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture and The New York Public Library. Featuring a plethora of primary sources from both men and women, it vividly captures the essence of life and the narratives surrounding individuals during this specified time period.

Information for Searching: The database provides comprehensive guidance on effective searching. Three key tips are highlighted. First, for finding people, it recommends using the language of the time to unveil narratives. Second, utilizing filters to narrow down results based on document type, date, author’s name, library or archive, etc. Lastly, it introduces browsing pathways, allowing users to view documents in a Google-search-like format, explore search directories, and delve into thematic areas. Additionally, research tools such as contextual essays, periodical case studies, thematic areas (focused searches by theme, e.g., cookery), and a chronology (an interactive timeline) are available to enhance the research experience. Navigating this database effectively requires practice to become proficient in its use. I recommend that the target audience should possess a minimum level of education equivalent to that of a college student since it is a little tricky.

Subject Librarian: Julie Leuzinger (Women’s Studies Librarian)

Name: Ashra Londa

Database: LGBT Magazine Archive

Link to PowerPoint Presentation

Audience: Adults – Researchers, the Queer-Curious, and the Queer Community

Topic/s Covered: Homosexuality, Gay Rights/Culture/Literature/Movements, Gender Identity, Political Science, Women’s Interests, Psychology

Features: The LGBT Magazine Archive features a host of digitized paper resources (including magazines, scholarly sources, journals, and more) that span from the years of 1967-2020. The contents within each publication are queer-positive primary sources that derive from the LGBT community. These resources are vulnerable, personal, and unabashedly honest. They offer an incredible unfiltered glimpse into moments of queer history in the past 50 years, all items preserved in high quality and clearly archived.

Information for Searching: Keywords are the most effective for searching. Boolean operations (AND/NOT) work well. Be aware that explicit adult content cannot be filtered out of the search results. The facets limit time period, source type, and subjects. There is a save function to keep track of searched articles as well as a history function for easy management. Some publications do not have the full text.

Subject Libarian: Julie Leuzinger (LGBT+ Studies Librarian)

Name: Lakshmi Dubey

Database: Science Direct

Audience: Students/Researchers

Topics Covered: ScienceDirect offers access to a large collection of more than 16 million peer-reviewed papers from a variety of scientific fields. Precise investigation of academic content is made possible by its sophisticated search capabilities. Real-time updates provide researchers with access to the most recent articles, which is beneficial. Multimedia content is supported by the database, which improves the educational process. ScienceDirect provides tailored suggestions according on search history and user preferences. It also offers collaboration tracking and citation analysis features. Convenient study while on the go is further encouraged by mobile accessibility. ScienceDirect, with its vast collection, user-friendly interface, and cutting-edge features, is a leading platform that makes scientific discovery efficient and thorough for scholars and researchers around the globe.

Information for Searching: Enhance your search precision by leveraging advanced search options. Tailor your results by filtering based on factors such as publication type, publication year, author, and other relevant criteria. Additionally, explore the option to establish alerts for specific keywords or topics of interest, incorporating Boolean operators for even more refined search outcomes.

Subject Librarian: Pilar Baskett (Science Librarian)