Community Zooms, a series of virtual events hosted by VCU libraries,  successfully offered opportunities for the VCU community to learn and connect during the pandemic. The series would not have been possible without our guest lecturers and the creativity and work of the Friends of VCU Libraries.  

The Friends also organized a series of Zooms following the theme of In Conversation: Nourishing Community Transformation. These events featured speakers from the Richmond community discussing social justice, innovation, health and the evolution of the greater Richmond area. 

Here is a selection of some Zooms you may want to revisit or enjoy. 

Celebrating Preservation Week: Collections Care Activities at VCU Libraries and Preserving Your Personal Treasures

 Find out how VCU Libraries protects its valuable collections of books, artifacts and art and learn how to preserve your own family treasures and documents in this session. Led by Nora Bloch. Recorded April 30, 2020. 

Finding Trusted Information About COVID-19

The amount of information available on COVID-19 can be overwhelming. Librarians from the MCV Campus (Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences and the VCU Medical Center Health and Wellness Library) provide tips for identifying reliable health information and walk attendees through their detailed online guide. Led by Dana Ladd and John Cyrus. Recorded May 14, 2020.

Docent-guided Virtual Tour of VCU Libraries Galleries

VCU Libraries offers dozens of digital exhibits in its online galleries. Digital Outreach and Special Projects Librarian Alice Campbell leads attendees through this virtual space, sharing highlights and tips on how to get the most from your own explorations. Led by Alice Campbell. Recorded May 28, 2020.

They Closed Our Schools: Making a Documentary of Racial Injustice in Prince Edward County

In 1959, local officials closed the public school system of Prince Edward County in defiance of the United States Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education. The closure demonstrated the intractable tenacity of racism and continues to have repercussions today. Filmmaker Grogan discusses his ongoing work on a documentary exploring this moment in history, as well as the recent book from University of Virginia Press, A Little Child Shall Lead Them: A Documentary Account of the Struggle for Education in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Led by Brian Grogan of Mercy Seat Films. Recorded June 18, 202

Aiming for Equality: The Goochland County Rosenwald Schools Oral History Project

In this session, Jessica Johnson, processing archivist for Special Collections and Archives at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, explores the Goochland County Rosenwald Schools Oral History digital collection, a landmark documentary project for preserving an important chapter in Virginia history. Led by Jessica Johnson. Recorded July 16, 2020.

Preserving Personal Treasures at Home

Do you have family photos, old newspapers, scrapbooks and other items that are important to you sitting in boxes in your basement or attic? Learn the dos and don’ts of keeping them safe and what materials you’ll need for preserving them in this session featuring Preservation Librarian Nora Bloch. Led by Nora Bloch. Recorded July 23, 2020.

The History and Impact of Advertising Icons

Former Brandcenter professor and managing director Kelly O’Keefe has been collecting memorabilia pertaining to advertising icons for more than 30 years. In this session, he explores favorite pieces from his collection, digitally available through VCU LIbraries Scholars Compass. Led by Kelly O’Keefe and Pattie Sobczak. Recorded July 30, 2020.

Cabinet of Wonders: Stories of Your Personal Treasures

Libraries collect materials of cultural and historical value. Library lovers are often collectors, too. But while our personal treasures may or may not have great cultural, historical or even monetary value, they do have meaning. In this session, we focus on these objects, from childhood drawings to vacation mementos, and the stories they tell. Digital Outreach and Special Projects Librarian Alice Campbell facilitates. Led by Alice Campbell. Recorded Aug. 13, 2020

Adèle Clark: Artist and Activist

Adèle Clark (1882–1983) was a well known Richmonder who combined her vocation as an artist and educator with political activism to advance the rights of women and others for nearly seven decades. In this session, Ray Bonis, senior research associate in Special Collections and Archives, previews a new online exhibit exploring her life, work and lasting impact. Led by Ray Bonis. Recorded Aug. 20, 2020

Simple DIY Techniques for Making Books at Home

Learn how to make a book out of one sheet of paper as you hear about the Book Art Collection in Special Collections and Archives. Andrea Kohashi is a teaching and learning librarian in Special Collections and Archives and a practicing book artist. Led by Andrea Kohashi. Recorded Aug. 27, 2020

Nursing History: Virginia Style

VCU’s and Virginia’s strong nursing education and practice reach back into the 19th century, when a substantial medical infrastructure was needed to accommodate casualties of war and the needs of a rapidly growing state. In this session, Jodi Koste, archivist and head of Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections and Archives, explores the complex history of Virginia nursing from its roots to the present day.Led by Jodi Koste. Recorded Sept. 17, 2020.

The Politics of Annexation: Oligarchic Power in a Southern City

Originally published in 1982, the book The Politics of Annexation explores the annexation of suburban areas by cities for tax, political and even racial purposes. Authors John V. Moeser, Ph.D., professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at VCU, and Rutledge M. Dennis, Ph.D.,professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University and the first coordinator of African American Studies at VCU, discuss the book–now available in a digital format on Scholars Compass. Led by John V. Moeser, Ph.D., and Rutledge M. Dennis, Ph.D. Recorded Nov. 12, 2020.

Resiliency Gardens: Making a Difference Through Urban Farming

Duron Chavis, founder and director of Happily Natural Day and a member of the Friends of VCU Libraries Board, has transformed the asphalt parking lot beside the Institute for Contemporary Art into a resiliency garden. In this session, Chavis discusses the vision for his project. Led by Duron Chavis. Recorded Dec. 3, 2020.

Removing Barriers to Share Important Stories: The VPM + ICA Community Media Center

In this session, Chioke I’Anson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the VCU Department of African American Studies, talks about the new VPM + ICA Community Media Center at VCU and the impact that this can have in the local community, particularly in an era where local news reporting is dwindling and independent voices are more important than ever. Led by Chioke I’Anson. Recorded Jan. 21, 2021.

Graphic Medicine at VCU Libraries

VCU Libraries houses a number of graphic novels that have been used as key resources to discuss topics of health and wellness. In this session, Research and Education Librarian Talicia Tarver and Library Specialist for Comics Arts Cindy Jackson explore these resources and share a list of suggested readings. Led by Cindy Jackson and Talicia Tarver. Recorded Feb. 11, 2021.

The Organ Thieves

Pulitzer Prize–nominated journalist and author Chip Jones reveals how he took a new look at the first heart transplant at the Medical College of Virginia in 1968 in his new book, The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South. He and Jodi L. Koste, archivist and head, Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives, will discuss his three-year-long research project and how it evolved into a close examination of the life and death of a Black man, Bruce Tucker, whose heart was taken from his body without prior consent in Virginia’s first heart transplant operation in 1968. In partnership with the Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Led by Chip Jones and Jodi L. Koste Recorded Feb. 25, 2021.

Tackling Monumental History in Film

Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren are Richmond-based documentary filmmakers producing a feature film called “How the Monuments Came Down.” The film, funded by VPM and the Virginia Film Office, uses Richmond’s monuments to explore the 150-year history of white supremacy and Black resistance in the city. They offer a sneak-peek of the film and discuss their process in determining how to tell an epic and timely story. Led by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren. Recorded March 11, 2021.

How to Entice Them to Read—and Keep Reading: A Dozen Contemporary Classics for Kids

In this session, Leila Christenbury, Ed.D., Commonwealth Professor Emerita, VCU School of Education and expert on young adult literacy, discusses contemporary books with an outstanding track record for getting kids to start reading, including series books, historical fiction, adventure novels, nonfiction and graphic novels. Sponsored by the Leila Christenbury Literacy Fund. Led by Leila Christenbury, Ed.D. Recorded April 8, 2021.

Who We Are: What Historic African American Cemeteries Can Teach Us About Our Shared Past

In the last six years, the Brian and Erin Holloway Palmer have worked with many others to reclaim and restore East End Cemetery, the final resting place of thousands of Black Richmonders. Their work includes on-site restoration, documentation, community engagement, the collection of oral histories, archival images, primary documents and the construction of an interactive website. The Palmers’ research also dovetails with a longtime focus on preserving Black history by VCU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives, which includes, among many other documents, the Virginia Black History Archives Collection. Led by Brian Palmer and Erin Hollaway Palmer. Recorded April 15, 2021.

Reclaiming Richmond’s Black History in Shockoe Bottom

In this session, Ana Edwards, chair of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, leads a discussion on how efforts to acknowledge the history of Black life in Richmond include making it visible in the public landscape in ways designed to affirm facts, impart memory and anticipate the future. Led by Ana Edwards. Recorded May 20, 2021.

Spies, Pirates, Lions and Literature: US-Moroccan Relations and the Bicentennial of the American Legation in Tangier

In this presentation, Michael A. Toler, an alum of VCU and the Archnet content manager in the Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries, sets out to challenge some common perceptions about power and its hierarchies by taking a closer look at the Legation’s history, including correspondence between the Moroccan sultan and U.S. presidents in the late 18th century, the role of the Legation when Tangier was an International Zone, the Second World War and the new role of the Legation in the local community since opening as a museum in 1976. It also touches upon some unusual episodes in the Legation’s history, such as the pair of lions who briefly resided on-premises and the dispatching of American Marines in a case of mistaken identity. Co-sponsored by VCU Alumni. Led by Michael A. Toler. Recorded June 17, 2021.

A History Lover’s Guide to Richmond

Richmond joins the ranks of US cities represented in the popular History Lover’s Guide series from the History Press. The series offers substantial yet readable accounts of major historical events and landmarks, as well as lesser known but important episodes and sites off the beaten path. In this session, author Kristin T. Thrower Stowe discusses the research, selection process and storytelling that went into writing A History Lover’s Guide to Richmond. Led by Kristin T. Thrower Stowe. Recorded July 22, 2021.

Studying Richmond’s Urban Environment Using Citizen Science

In this session, Stephen S. Fong, Ph.D., will discuss the process, results and opportunities for engagement in studying and building environmental resiliency in Richmond. Led by Stephen S. Fong. Recorded Aug. 26, 2021.

Who Made It Happen? Visionaries and Organizers for Social Change

What sort of professional life could women have in early 20th-century Richmond? And what does that have to do with VCU today? Alice W. Campbell, digital outreach and special projects librarian, shares the little-known story of two dynamic organizers, Orie Latham Hatcher and Virginia McKenney Claiborne, who advocated for women’s education and professional opportunities. Campbell is project manager for VCU Libraries’ Social Welfare History Project. Led by Alice W. Campbell. Recorded Sept. 23, 2021.

Performing Statistics: Creating a Future without Youth Incarceration

Join Performing Statistics Creative Director Mark Strandquist (B.F.A./’13, A) for a discussion about the mission, activities and future projects of this cultural non-profit, dedicated to using art to model, imagine, and advocate for alternatives to youth incarceration. Recorded Nov. 11, 2021.

VCU Libraries: First Impressions and Dynamic Directions

VCU Libraries welcomed Irene Herold, Ph.D., as its new dean of libraries and university librarian in August 2021, at the start of a pivotal semester in the history of VCU. As that semester now approaches an end, she reflects on the libraries’ direction and her time in Richmond thus far and looks ahead to the spring semester and beyond. Led by Irene Herold, Ph.D.. Recorded Nov. 18, 2021.

The Experience of Afghan Refugees in Central Virginia

Join to learn more about refugee paths to the United States and Metro Richmond. Experts and practitioners discuss dynamics of getting here, moving into local communities and assimilating into new lives in our area. Speakers engage participants in better understanding Afghan refugee resettlement and how local citizens can be a part of the refugee experience. Led by Kate Ayres (Executive Director of ReEstablish Richmond) Justin Gandy (Deputy Director, International Rescue Committee), and Marilyn Breslow (former director of Refugee and Immigration Services of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, current board member of ReEstablish Richmond). Recorded Dec. 2, 2021.

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