News from the Libraries

News from the Libraries

Library Committee appointed for 2013-2014

The Library Committee is an important advisory committee composed of faculty and students who serve in a consultative and advisory capacity to the President and the Vice President for Academic Administration and who work with and assist the Executive Director of Libraries in making recommendations for library practices and procedures. Dr. Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, School of Health Professions, chairs the committee this year. Faculty members serving on the committee include Teresa Boese, Ray Palmer, Mohammad Rahman, John Short, Ashley Achenson, Gu Huyn-Ba, Benjamin Wallisch, Barbara MacNeill, Omid Rahimi, and Jennie Shaw. Student representatives are Elizabeth Garcia (Health Professions), Aparna Gorthi (Graduate), Delia Silva (Nursing), Johvoh Tidwell (Dental), and Gabriela Villanueva (Medical). Faculty, students and staff are encouraged to contact a member of the Library Committee with suggestions and concerns about library services, facilities and information resources.

Library hours in December: 24/7 and winter break schedule

The Briscoe Library will extend its hours for 24/7 study during fall semester final exams.  The library will be open 24 hours/day starting on the evening of Sunday, December 1 and extending through the evening of Friday, December 13.  Extended hours are only available to HSC ID card holders and entry will be through ID card swipe at the library entrance.  All students, faculty and staff MUST have their HSC ID with them in order to be in the library during extended hours. Non-Health Science Center library users may use the library during regular hours.

The Briscoe Library Winter Break schedule begins on December 13 and will run through January 5, 2014. The library will resume normal hours on January 6. The Calendar below shows the hours at a glance.


The Ramirez Library in Harlingen and the Laredo Regional Campus Library will also have a modified Winter Break schedule.

We wish you all Happy Holidays!

Affordable Care Act brings together Community Advisors

On Friday, November 8th, the UT Health Science Center Libraries met for their bi-annual Community Advisors meeting by videoconference between the Briscoe Library in San Antonio,the Ramirez Library in Harlingen, and the Laredo Regional Campus Library. On topic for this meeting was the Affordable Care Act and community experience thus far with enrollment. In addition to library staff, local organizations represented at the meeting included public and academic libraries, community health workers and promatores, health clinics and student interns, charitable organizations, the Veterans Administration, campus student organizations, faculty researchers, and Area Health Education Centers.


Briscoe Library in San Antonio

Briscoe Library in San Antonio

Ramirez Library in Harlingen

Ramirez Library in Harlingen


Medical student essay selected for first Danny Jones History of the Health Sciences Essay Competition

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library have established the Danny Jones History of the Health Sciences Student Essay Competition in memory of Danny Jones, MLS, who served as Head of Special Collections at the UT Health Science Center Library and was also a Past President of the Friends organization.  The annual contest is open to current HSC students, as well as to affiliated residents and fellows.  Essays can be on any topic related to the history of the health sciences including history of medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, or any other health science discipline.  The winner of the essay competition receives a $500 award.

A panel of three judges selected an essay written by Amanda Lipsitt, fourth year medical student, as the winner among the eight essays that were submitted for consideration.  Ms. Lipsitt’s topic was, “Secret Medicine:  The Creation of the Spanish Crypto-Jewish Physician and the Influence on the South Texas Border.”  Congratulations to Ms. Lipsitt and a thank you to all students who submitted an essay for the competition.

Additions to the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Two works were added to the collection of of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library in 2012-2013.

Charles Bell, The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design (1833).
This rare first edition copy of Charles Bell’s classic work on the anatomy, physiology, and adaptive importance of the hand was added in March.

Charles Bell

Charles Bell

Also known as the fourth Bridgewater Treatise, The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design, was one of a series of monographs written in response to William Paley’s 1802 work, Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity collected from the Appearances of Nature.

Paley’s popular work was debated throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, a time when religion and science were widely believed to be in harmony. It was included in the standard curricula at Oxford and Cambridge universities. The treatises, including Bell’s work on the anatomy and physiology of the hand, were produced between 1833 and 1840 by leading authorities in moral philosophy, natural history, astronomy, physiology, chemistry, and geology.

Charles Bell’s The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design (1833) was purchased as a memorial for Danny Jones, MLS, formerly Head of Briscoe Library Special Collections and a one-time president of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Danny Jones passed away in January, 2013. Names of contributors to the purchase have been entered in the catalog record for the book.

The Fabric of the Human Body (2013): An annotated translation of the 1543 and 1555 editions of De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem (

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library donated funds to purchase The Fabric of the Human Body (2013), a new, annotated English translation of the 1543 and 1555 editions of Andreas Vesalius’ (1514 – 1564) De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. Information about the new translation can be viewed online at:

In 1543, Vesalius produced what was at the time Europe’s most detailed and best illustrated atlas of the human body. The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns a rare copy of this classic book, which The Oxford Medical Companion calls “probably the most influential of all medical works.” Vesalius challenged the authority of ancient medical books, especially the works of Galen (2nd cent. AD), by demonstrating their reliance on the dissection of animals such as the barbary ape instead of human cadavers. For Vesalius and those who came after him, the human body was the only reliable source for scientific anatomy.

The new translation De humani corporis fabrica libri septemis is the work of classics scholar Daniel H. Garrison and Malcolm H. Hast, Professor Emeritus of Otolaryngology and past Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University.  It includes high resolution images of the original illustrations, and Vesalius’ recently discovered notes for a third edition that was never published.

The Fabric of the Human Body was purchased as a memorial for Dr. P.I. Nixon, Jr., who passed away in 2012.

I found it in the Archives

The University Archives is located on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library, within the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. The Archives contain original materials that document the history of the Health Science Center and the development of medicine in Bexar County and South Texas. Archives around the world document the rich history found in manuscripts, photographs, letters, organizational records, and other original materials. The HSC Archives staff have created electronic finding aids that make the information about the HSC’s archives available to researchers and the public searching the Internet for original materials. Archival records have also been added to Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO), a repository of descriptions of archival collections throughout the state. The wide availability of information about the university’s archival records has led to many interesting research requests and visits to the HSC by historical researchers. Here are a few recent examples:

  • A historian of the United States and Mexico is working on a book about migrant labor in the shared history of the two countries between 1880 and WW II. One of the themes running through the book is the urban dimension of migrant workers’ lives during the winter months. He sought public health records located in the HSC Archives to help document the lives of migrant workers during the months they spent in urban environments.
  • A historian from the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden in Brazil is conducting research about a Brazilian naturalist who corresponded with Louis Lapicque. The historian requested information about two lab notebooks by Lapicque held in the HSC Archives (“Experiences du Bresil,” 1913 and 1927).
  • A graduate student from UTSA used the archives to conduct research on tuberculosis in San Antonio.
  • HSC faculty, staff and students frequently request photographs relating to the history of the university or to local medical history. Other universities, historians, and the general public also request research into available photographs located in the Archives. The HSC Photography unit recently donated a large collection of photos that are being processed for preservation and are available for research.
  • The Crown Jewel: the Story of the First 50 Years of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio written by Will Sansom in 2009 used many of the resources and pictures in the Archives. The archives contain collections of records documenting the history of the university from the beginning when the medical, dental, and nursing schools were first established. University records include recordings of the meetings of the San Antonio Medical Foundation which planned the medical school, oral histories for the founding faculty, old yearbooks, graduation programs, photographs of faculty and staff, old student catalogs, departmental newsletters, presidential records, news clippings, and many other important documents.

In addition to university records, the Archives has many manuscripts and correspondence from early Texas physicians practicing in San Antonio in the 1800’s and 1900’s. These include case books by George Cupples, a pioneer Texas surgeon, describing removing arrow heads or treating traumatic tetanus; manuscripts and notes from Dr. P. I. Nixon for the writing of his books on the history of medicine in Texas and San Antonio; and correspondence and reports from early physicians describing epidemics and problems with TB, poliomyelitis, syphilis and other health problems in San Antonio.

For more information about the Archives or to make an appointment to view archival materials, contact Jaclyn Georges, Records Manager & Archivist, at 210-567-2428 or

Farewell to Greysi Reyna and Susan Hunnicutt

Greysi Reyna, Assistant Director for the Ramirez Library at the Regional Academic Health Center, retired on November 30 following 18 years of service to the UT Health Science Center.  Greysi’s enthusiasm and dedication to improving the lives of citizens in the Lower Rio Grande Valley was evident in all that she accomplished during her career.


Greysi was involved with the development of library services for the RAHC and managed the Circuit Librarian Health Information Network (CLHIN) in the Valley.  She was involved with several externally funded projects that brought improved health information to the region including information literacy training for promotoras and the MedlinePlus Peer Tutor Project at Med High in Mercedes, TX.  In 2005, the Med High Project was awarded the prestigious Institute of Museum and Library Services Award, presented to the Ramirez Library by First Lady Laura Bush.  In 2009, the Friends of the National Library of Medicine recognized Greysi’s library outreach efforts by awarding her the Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award.  A fellow librarian described Greysi as “Always giving of herself to the mission of serving others.  She has never told us no; she has never complained; she has always sought to find the best in each of us and to help us become better.”  Greysi plans to spend her retirement relaxing and spending time with her family.



Farewell to Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian, whose last day at the Health science Center was November 15.  Susan married Ben Ennis on November 29 and has moved to Arlington, TX to join him.  Since 2007, Susan was employed as Administrative and Special Projects Librarian and contributed to many library activities during her tenure.  Susan developed the One Community/One Book program including successfully applying for external funding to support reading activities and programming.  She managed exhibits, coordinated meetings and business for the Library Committee and Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, and developed programming to highlight the history of the health sciences.  Susan coordinated educational and research visits to the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library and provided information about rare books in this collection.  Lastly, Susan edited this newsletter and wrote many feature stories.  We wish Susan the best as she embarks on life in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Librarians present at South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association Meeting

The South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association held its annual meeting in Fort Worth, Texas on October 26-30.  Several librarians attended and presented contributed papers.

Peg Seger presented “The Role of Libraries: CTSA Institutions & Community Engagement” on behalf of co-authors Rajia Tobia, Jonquil D. Feldman, Greysi Reyna, and Kathy Carter.  The presentation outlined the experience gained by the UT Health Science Center Libraries as the result of an award received from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine in the South Central Region. Through the award, the UT Health Science Center Libraries joined in partnership with Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) to identify and promote the role of libraries in institutions that have received NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) particularly in the area of Community Engagement.

Chris Gaspard presented “Being on the Frontline: Changing our Culture – Where to Begin?” on behalf of co-author Katie Prentice.  The presentation covered the approach to change in Library Circulation and Information services and how the adoption of the “Frontline” group continues to develop communication.

Jeremy Mercier presented “phpScheduleIt: An Open Source Solution for a Room Reservation System” on behalf of co-author Eric Willman.  Jeremy presented on his internship/capstone project experiences creating a room reservation system for the library that allows students to self-reserve group study rooms.  The group study system launched in November.

Chris and Katie present a paper

Peg presents paper at SCC/MLAJeremy SCC

Chris Gaspard to serve on TexShare Working Group

Congratulations to Chris Gaspard, Head of Access Services, who has accepted an appointment to the TexShare Card Working Group.  TexShare is administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission whose mission is to safeguard significant resources, provide information services that inspire and support research, education and reading, and enhance the capacity for achievement of current and future generations. Working groups are viewed as the heart of TexShare, with colleagues working to deliver responsive, effective services for the 700 TexShare libraries and the 25 million Texans that use them.  The TexShare card allows library patrons from around the state to borrow materials from over 500 participating libraries.  TexShare cards can be obtained at the service desks at any of the UT Health Science Center Libraries.

New Editor for Library Newsletter

We welcome your comments and suggestions regarding our newsletter.  Please direct them to our new editor, Dana Whitmire.  Dana has been with the library since 2007 and is currently the Electronic Resources/Serials Librarian.