During March 2013...
New Rollers on the ZSR letterpress:
ZSR was very fortunate to have the donation of a letterpress by Carl Hein last summer. The press has not been silent in the past few months-quite the opposite. Carl Hein has been visiting Preservation during the fall and spring to help me learn how to operate the press, set type, etc. This fall, Carl and I printed the ZSR holiday card, which was the first real printed piece from the new press. There have also been a few bookmarks. By far the most exciting thing is the discovery that in the Dolmen Press Collection are 17 boxes of printing blocks and plates which were designed to be printed on a letterpress. These blocks incorporate almost every type of print: wood engravings, lino-cuts and metal printing plates. The ZSR holiday card was printed from one of these Dolmen plates. These are wonderful images, often of the Irish countryside.
This is a wood engraving block made by Irish artist, Elizabeth Rivers (1903-1964).
This is a print Carl Hein and I made from this wood engraving:
A few weeks ago, I traveled to far-off Clemmons to have new rollers cast for the letterpress. Our rollers were pitted and no longer uniform in size. When this happens, it’ time for new rollers. There, in a small shed behind his home, David Hauser runs a business called Tarheel Roller. David took the 3 rollers I brought, and cut the old roller material off the metal rod.
The metal rod was then cleaned with a wire brush>
The cleaned rod is then wrapped with twine to give the material something to adhere to when it is cast:
A mixture of dried glue, water, glycerin and orange pigment is mixed and cooked in a large copper kettle, which is mechanically stirred.
The cooked composite material is then pumped into a large cylindrical device with hollow tubes. The rods of each roller sit perfectly in the center of each tube and the rollers are cast in this way.
After cooling, the cast rollers are stored in a wooden box until ready for use.
Not only are there lots of printing plates in the Dolmen Collection left to print, there is also a box of unused lead type. With brand new rollers, there will hopefully be many more exciting printed pieces.
On Wednesday, March 6, Derrik Hiatt, Anna Milholland, Ellen Makaravage and I heeded the call of the open house (and the open road), and travelled to Raleigh, NC to see the newly opened James B. Hunt Library at North Carolina State University. The library is an impressive one with many features befitting a library of the future.
Upon first coming into the library, it is hard to overlook The Bookbot:
The shelving is 50 feet tall, and contains more than 18,000 bins. It will eventually hold 2 million items, and is currently about 75% full. This view is behind glass, so we’re looking down into it. It is kept at a balmy 68°F, and less than 45% humidity. It retrieves items within minutes of a request.
After entering through the main gates of the library, you find yourself in the Rain Garden Reading Lounge.
The circular shelves contain some reference items, faculty publications, classics, and a small science fiction collection. In this area also you’ll find the ASK US desk, which is a reference, technology help, circulation, hold shelf, roving help desk all in one. (And staffed by one person!)
We all were quite astounded by the number of (fully 100), and amenities available in, the Study Rooms. White board walls, glass fronted wall, smartboard connections in the table…
Lockers had plugs for powering up laptops and cell phones, and were programmable by the user to create his or her own locker combination.
This quiet study space was vast and surrounded by the circulating collection. Note the study rooms along the far wall at the top.
The bright yellow staircases throughout helped people navigate because staircases, unlike in most buildings, were not stacked on top of each other. Color on the walls was used to differentiate areas that contained staircases, lockers, elevators, etc, so a very big and imposing space could be figured out with relative ease.
The coolest features of the library included a Teaching & Visualization Lab with immersive visualization, provided by 10 ceiling-mounted projectors (can be either 2-D or 3-D) and16 ceiling-mounted 3-D speakers for “sonification”. The sound could be produced in the room so you’d sense it coming from beneath your feet. The Creativity Studio was similar to Visualization Lab (ceiling-mounted projectors & speakers), but with reconfigurable walls for potential gallery setup and theater lighting. They are currently working on crime-scene visualization project. Investigators at a crime scene can scan the area with a Kinect, then people in the Creativity Studio will be able to interact virtually, in real-time (like a 21st-century holodeck). They also had three 3D printers in the library, which utilizes CAD drawings and “prints” them using spooled plastic, (think fishing line) and creates your object in 3D. (We wanted to take a sample with us, but unfortunately you needed to be a NCSU student to get one.)
There was also an amazing Gaming Lab where students could develop games, or just develop their skills at gaming.
What I found most wonderful about the whole experience was that in this incredibly technological facility, they didn’t forget about the importance of the students. They have given the students many options for finding their own preferred study space, and the spaces are comfortable and have plenty of light! This space is called the Skyline Reading Room. It was empty the day we saw it, but we were there during the Spring Break at NCSU. Usually, it is full of studying students.
While we lucky few got a chance to see the library in person last week, we will be arranging another field trip in the summer for others to visit. It is an amazing place that manages to combine the edginess of the cutting edge, with the spaciousness that invites students to study. Even more photos are available! Enjoy!
The 2013 Reynolda Film Festival runs April 1st – 5th. See the complete schedule online. The keynote address – given by actor, writer, and director Edward Burns best known for The Brothers McMullen and Saving Private Ryan – will be held in Brendle Recital Hall on Tuesday, April 2, at 7:00 pm.
Two weeks ago, WFU hosted its second TEDx. I was unable to attend the first event last year, but made a point to make it to this year’s event. (and even took a couple of friends with me!)
Rather than go into detail on each speaker, I thought it might be useful to describe the event! First, it is held in Wait Chapel and registration is usually capped at around 1000 participants. This differs from standard TED talks that are usually capped at 100 attendees to give the events a more personal feel. The event started at 12 noon and was divided into three speaker blocks, with three speakers in each block. The first block also includes comments by Provost Kersh, who mentioned the ZSR Library’s upcoming MOOC and comments by the moderator, Morris Morrison.
Alumnus, Ricky Van Veen, one of the founders of College Humor, was the opening speaker in the first block and did an excellent job discussing how people use social media to tell the story of what they believe and who they are. Between each speaker block of three speakers, there was a 15 minute break. This proved to be a good format that allowed people the flexibility to move around and interact between the speaker blocks!
All in all, this was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon!