Interracial Children’s Books, Where Are You?

Picture of Love Finds a Way displayWe put up a new display in the library last week to go along with our upcoming film showing of The Loving Story. The display showcases books and films about interracial couples and families.

We found only a few children’s books in our collection to add to the display, and that got us thinking – Where are all the interracial children’s books? Apparently, others are asking the same question. There is a clear dearth of children’s books that focus on the topic and almost none that feature interracial families or characters as part of the main story line but without their interracial identity being the obvious focus.

For now, we’ve ordered available books we can find, but we’ll be on the lookout for more as we expand our growing collection of children’s books featuring diverse characters and topics.

Movie showing flyer

Library Catalog FAQ

Did you know that our Ask A Librarian service is more than just a chat? It also serves as a bank of frequently asked questions! Right now, we have over twenty questions and answers relating to the library catalog that range from keyword searching to finding government documents.

Each question has detailed, step-by-step instructions on using the catalog–some even have photos! Check it out on our Ask A Librarian question bank and be sure to take a look at some of the other frequently asked questions.

screenshot of Ask A Librarian question "how do I use the library catalog"

screenshot of ask a library question "how can i browse the texas education collection?"

Teach Yo Self!

It’s a new semester here at the University of Houston-Downtown and we at the library want to welcome all of our students, both new and returning!

Whether this is your first semester or your first semester really using the library, we know that it can be hard to figure out where to find the information you really need. In this post, we invite you to learn some library basics that will make the rest of the semester easier for you!

1. I have a question! Help!
2. Ummm, I’m lost. Is this even a library? Where are the books?
3. How can I book a study room?
4. I’m severely under-caffeinated.
5. Do you check out laptops?

parks and recreation meme reading "teach yo self"

1. I have a question! Help!
That’s great, we love questions! In fact, we love them so much, you can ask us a question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What is this witchcraft, you say? It’s our Ask A Librarian chat service. And it’s not actually witchcraft, it’s *technology*.

If you don’t want to chat with a librarian you can also email a librarian, call us, make an appointment, or send a good old fashioned text (phone numbers available in the right sidebar on our Help page).

2. Ummm, I’m lost. Is this even a library? Where are the books?
Yes, this is definitely a library. And you’re in luck, because we have maps! With colors! And room numbers! They’re pretty helpful if you are wandering around in circles trying to find a book, or your study room. Not interested in maps? Here’s a quick breakdown:

The Fourth Floor has the computer lab, information desk (where you can find a real live librarian!) study rooms, presentation rooms, and two classrooms with computers.

The Fifth Floor has the books, bound journals, CDs & DVDs, and circulation desk (where you can find reserved items and check out your books!). The 40,000 Windows Cafe is also on the fifth floor.

3. How can I book a study room?
Excellent question! Go to our homepage and click the blue button that says Study Rooms. Follow the prompts to reserve a room. Remember, you have to have a group of 3 or more people and you can only book for two hours at a time. We love you, but we will also (very nicely, of course) kick you out of the room if we have to. If you need step-by-step help to check out a room, visit us in the computer lab. 

homepage with study rooms circled

4. I’m severely under-caffeinated.
Aren’t we all? Yes. The answer is probably yes. But guess what, there’s a coffee shop IN THE LIBRARY. The 40,000 Windows Cafe is located on the fifth floor of the library and is open Monday-Thursday, 9am-9pm. Unfortunately your caffeine addiction will have to be met elsewhere Friday-Sunday, because the cafe will not be open.

5. Do you check out laptops?
Nope. For that, you’ll have to visit the computer lab on the 8th floor (S800). We do, however checkout a ton of other helpful pieces of technology like video cameras, calculators (scientific and graphing), headphones, as well as webcams and microphones.

So that’s your basic Library 101–have a great semester!

the more you know meme, text reads "the more you know" over a star


NaNoWriMo at W.I. Dykes Library

two students writing at a table

Come celebrate National Novel Writing Month with the W.I. Dykes Library throughout the month of November! Unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo? Here’s basic info from the NaNoWriMo site:


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Feeling intimidated? Not to worry! Although most writers aim for 50,000 words, you can set your own goals for the month and still participate. The Library will be hosting several write-ins as well as providing plot bunnies for those who need some inspiration. So whether you’re penning a full novel or working on a short story, feel free to stop by one of our write-ins!

W.I. Dykes Library write-in schedule:

Monday 11/9 – Room N430 / 3-4pm

Monday 11/16 - Room N430 / 3-4pm

Monday 11/23 - Room N430 / 3-4pm

Monday 11/30 - Room N430 / 3-5pm

two individuals writing at a table

Writing furiously during a sprint!

Library hosts English Honor Society’s retablos

In partnership with the UHD English Honor Society (and CHSS), the W.I. Dykes Library is co-hosting the Society’s retablos (images on an altar to honor the deceased) to their favorite deceased authors. Photos are accompanied by the authors’ works from the Library, so we can all enjoy their writings! Featured authors include: Langston Hughes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Saint Kateri, Gloria Anzaldua, Theresa de Avila and more.

It will be up until November 15, come see it!

retablos display in library

books and image of shel siverstein on retablos display

image of sandra bland on retablos display

gabriel garcia marquez quote on retablos display

October Ask a Librarian @ Shea Street Building

Need help? Ask a librarian! Whether it’s help on a research assignment or navigating the library’s databases, the subject specialist for the College of Business will available at the Shea Street building to answer your questions (even the last minute ones)!

The following dates are scheduled in October, so drop by and say hello:

cartoon drawing of a gator wearing classes and holding a notebook
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Shea Street Building Lobby

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Shea Street Building Lobby

New Archives Exhibit at W.I. Dykes Library

title of archives exhibit: Not Built in a Day with an overlay of clock numbersVisit the latest UHD Archives exhibit, Not Built in a Day: Visions for Campus Expansion, 1969-2003, at the W.I. Dykes Library!

This exhibit is a look at three expansion visions from our history: South Texas Junior College’s plan for renovation and expansion in 1969, University of Houston Downtown College’s “Six Year Plan” from 1981, and the Campus Expansion Plan of the early 2000s developed in conjunction with the purchase of the Willow Street Pump Station.

Although many of the buildings currently on campus are a result of these plans, there are also some design choices that we might be surprised to see today, but which were never realized due to economic pressures, other opportunities, or even just Houston’s climate. It’s a fascinating look at the University’s ambitions and dreams over the past 45 years.

On view: October 16-December 16, 2015
Location: W.I. Dykes Library, 5th Floor
Created by the University Archives and W.I. Dykes Library

design plans for willow street station

Creative Commons Webinar

creative commons logoInterested in learning how to find and use free images, music, and other digital content? The W.I. Dykes Library is hosting an Amigos Library Services webinar on Creative Commons! We’d love to see you, so come on by and learn with us!

Amigos Library Services Know & Go: Creative Commons
October 12, 2015, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm CDT
W.I. Dykes Library, Room N412

Creative Commons provides a unique way to find free, usable images, music and other content. Find out how best to find Creative Commons licensed materials, how to promote their usage, and even how to license your own work. *Note: This webinar is aimed at librarian audiences but all are welcome to attend! The information provided is applicable to all disciplines.

Banned Books by Hispanic Authors

What’s better than observing Banned Books Week (9/27-10/3) and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15-10/15)?

Reading banned books by Hispanic authors!

This month, the W. I. Dykes Library will be showcasing books that have been banned or challenged in various school systems and states. These books, written by Hispanic authors, span a variety of themes: from UHD’s 2015 Common Read about a young girl’s journey to the US (Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea) to the Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights by Francisco Rosales.

In addition to the information on our Research Guide, we also have a display table of titles available for check-out on the 5th Floor!

photo of banned books by Hispanic authors on display