Meet the Librarians: Jonathan McMichael

 User Experience Librarian

Originally a teacher, User Experience (UX) Librarian Jonathan McMichael found his interest in librarianship while getting his Master’s in Education. “In my first year of real teaching after student teaching, we had to take classes to get a Master’s degree, and they were night classes,” McMichael said. “In between teaching and [my classes], I fell asleep in the library, woke up, and heard somebody asking about UN documents. I heard the librarian ask a bunch of questions. As a teacher, I know asking a bunch of questions is an effective strategy for getting people to think. [The librarian was] asking these questions in very specific ways that made me realize that they were helping this person realize what they actually needed and figuring what their information need was. And I thought, ‘This is really fascinating’.”

McMichael’s background in education has strongly impacted his time here at Southern Methodist University. His desire to be a librarian stems from a similar love for teaching. “I teach because I want to work with people who are genuinely curious about finding and using information,” he said.

Teaching has even bled into the UX work McMichael does. “Teaching is so much about empathy,” he said. “Everybody makes sense of the world in a different way. When you can start to realize that and see the nuances of how people work it out in their mind and appreciate it, your prior knowledge changes the way you would make sense of it. It means that if you’re going to have a UX design, it’s not going to be one size fits all because people bring so many different things to the table. But you can notice patterns, and you can notice trends on how people are making sense of things.”

For McMichael, UX design is strongly tied to designing curriculum and working with the professors to help guide their students through research. Not only does he work as an UX librarian, but he also works as the DISC librarian, helping the first-year students.

“I love the fact that there’s an interesting thing that is happening in colleges within first year,” he said. “People are making choices about who they’re going to be for the next decade or so in life. I think that’s a really influential time, so you get these seminal moments in someone’s life. Secondarily, it’s also where I see a lot of need. Adapting to a university environment is challenging for a lot of students, almost every student, because it’s brand new. It just so happens that the newest people to the group are the ones that don’t get it the best. If they don’t get it the best, they sometimes can become marginalized or frustrated, so there’s also probably a little bit of that.”

His love of learning has led McMichael to working at SMU. “In general, just working at universities is really fascinating,” he said. “I love the fact that there is an institution that is oriented to the generation of knowledge. I still think about it, having worked in it for 10 years now. It’s amazing that it exists. And it’s so well-funded and has such a prominent place in society, which I think is awesome. It’s just incredible [being] where learning is happening. I love being around learning. I’m addicted to the sense of people becoming the thing they’re going to be and figuring things out. It’s happening around me all the time.”


Interview conducted by Author Wren Lee, SMU ’22 Creative Computation and Film and Media Arts Pre-Major and Fondren Library Marketing Department Student Assistant

Fondren Library study space quiz

Encompassing a large swath to the east of Dallas Hall, Fondren Library is a space of many nooks and crannies. With all of these different places to study, it might be hard to choose exactly which one works best for you.  

Behold the study space quiz that will solve the answer to this riddle. 

Post and quiz created by SMU Libraries Marketing Student Worker, Wren Lee ’22

Help Shape Support for SMU Academic and Research Goals

Check your email!

SMU Libraries is conducting the first comprehensive campus-wide survey since 2011, in collaboration with OIT.  The survey opened via email invitation on Thursday February 14th and will run until Monday February 25th.  All Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students, as well as 2nd and 3rd year Undergraduate students have been invited to participate.

The general purpose of the survey is to understand how faculty, students, and staff use the SMU libraries, and how their academic and research goals might be better supported by library and related technology services.  This endeavor is in support of SMU strategic goals aimed at advancing the overall academic quality to the level of a premier research and teaching university with global impact.  Results from the survey will be available near the end of Spring 2019. Findings from the survey will be incorporated into the SMU Libraries strategic planning process currently underway.

Questions?  Email Zoltán Szentkirályi, SMU Libraries’ Director of Assessment at

Modern Masters Tapestries in Fondren

The Modern Masters Tapestries series, which hung in the DeGolyer Library Reading Room before Fondren’s completed renovation in 2016, is now on view in Fondren’s Collaborative Commons and other areas of the library.

Mondrian Tapestries on wall
A few of the Modern Masters Tapestries on view at Fondren Library
Another view of a Modern Masters Tapestry at Fondren
Another view of a Modern Masters Tapestry at Fondren


“The Unicorn is Found,” from the Unicorn Tapestries; Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts
“The Unicorn is Found,” from the Unicorn Tapestries; Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts Overall: 145 x 149 in. (368.3 x 378.5 cm), South Netherlandish, 1495-1505. Image courtesy the MET Museum, NY

A Bit of History about Tapestries

During the Middle Ages through the Renaissance (14th to 16th centuries), tapestries became commonplace in homes. In buildings with little insulation or heat, tapestries served the functional purpose – keeping the elements out and the heat in. Tapestries also served a secondary purpose – to display a sign of wealth and beauty. Like paintings, tapestries adorned the walls for those with financial means. Commissioned artisans were employed to design intricately woven designs in many of these tapestries, often creating beautiful mis-en-scènes or arranged scenery, that transported viewers to otherworldly lands. One of the most well-known series of such tapestries is the ornate seven-piece series, Hunt of the Unicorn, on display at the Cloisters in New York City. Even after centuries of exposure to sunlight and temperature, these 15th-century tapestries remain remarkably striking.

The Modern Masters Series

What was once considered craft is now seen as fine art. Since the 70s, many weaving companies began marketing their pieces to a wider audience, selling tapestries as the more affordable counterparts to paintings. One company that successfully merged the two was Modern Masters Tapestries. Modern Masters created large-scale reproductions of modernist paintings by artists including Joan Miró, Willem De Kooning, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, and Pablo Picasso. Modern Masters enlisted artisans to create tapestries that would find their way into commercial spaces and homes. Like the designs and motifs of the paintings created by these modern artists, the tapestries imbued color and personality in each room at a much lower cost than original paintings. People who wouldn’t normally have the means to afford a modernist painting could still have artwork reflective of their tastes. In Ruth J. Katz’s 1970s article on tapestries, she describes how textile design grew in popularity due to architects and designers finding new ways to incorporate textiles into both corporate and public spaces. Aesthetically pleasing designs and accents were no longer reserved for private spaces. The other spaces people frequented each day grew to feel like extensions of the home.

Phyllis Lynn, former curator of the art collection of Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company describes the effect of fiber, “Fiber humanizes modern architecture…It softens all the hard edges and makes an atmosphere cozy.” The tapestries in Fondren Library do just that: they create a welcoming environment for students and visitors, making a normally bare, institutional space feel like a warm gathering space. The tapestries are also significant in that they may act as an introduction to modern 20th-century artists. Rather than existing in a gallery space, the tapestries hang in a common area where people converse, study, and move through. They do not need to go out of their way to view artwork; rather they may live with it, incorporating artwork into their everyday experience.
Thirteen of the Modern Masters tapestries originally found their way to SMU as a donation in the 1970s to the SMU and were installed in DeGolyer Library. Recently, the tapestries were stored during the renovation of Fondren Library. Faced with either disposing of the tapestries or finding new homes, Russell Martin, Director of the DeGolyer Library, shared pictures of the tapestries to then Interim Director of Fondren Library, Jolene de Verges. She contacted the Collections Manager at the Meadows Museum, Anne Lenhart, and together they found new spaces in Fondren to install them. Thus, the Collaborative Commons and other areas in Fondren are the newly enriched home to these tapestries.

After Joan Miró, "Circus", 1970s Wall-hanging tapestry,Wool Modern Masters Tapestries
After Joan Miró, “Circus”, 1970s Wall-hanging tapestry,Wool Modern Masters Tapestries 78 1/2 × 59 in; 199.4 × 149.9 cm


North view of some Modern Masters Tapestries
North view of some Modern Masters Tapestries


Grant, Daniel. A Good Yarn: Artists’ Tapestries Are Popping Up in Museums, but They’re Not Yet Woven Into the Market. August 20, 2013.

Katz, Ruth. The Swiftly Growing Field of Tapestries and Fiber Arts. 1981.
The Unicorn Tapestries

Why Archives? SMU Archivist, Joan Gosnell Explains

We recently chatted with SMU Libraries’ own Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist. With the upcoming presentations of the Black History at SMU Student Oral History Projects, we wanted to ask Joan some questions about “The Archives.” Joan was a big part in helping Dr. Jill Kelly’s students find their way through the archives to complete their projects. 

Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist
Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist

Continue reading “Why Archives? SMU Archivist, Joan Gosnell Explains”

Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall Opens

Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall
Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall


William Jennings Bryan Campaign Poster
Liberty, Justice, Humanity, campaign poster, 1900 From the Hervey A. Priddy Collection of American Presidential and Political Memorabilia

Come visit the new Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall! This premier exhibition space for SMU’s DeGolyer Library Special Collections, is a modern, spacious venue that is currently housing its inaugural exhibition, “Books, Buildings and Benefactors.” The exhibition highlights signature items in the library collections, including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints and ephemera. Political items, such as a 1900 William Jennings Bryan presidential campaign poster, first edition books by William Faulkner and J.D. Salinger as well as historic SMU photos are included in the exhibit.

Inaugural Exhibit: Books, Buildings and Benefactors

Location: Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall, Fondren Library Center

Exhibition Preview

Catcher in the Rye, First EditionJ.D. Salinger
The Catcher the Rye
Boston : Little, Brown, 1951.

From the Stanley Marcus Collection, DeGolyer Library.

Dallas Hall

Dallas Hall, Southern Methodist University, 1921

SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.

William Faulkner, First Edition

William Faulkner
Miss Zilphia Gant
Dallas, Texas: The Book Club of Texas, 1932.

From the Stanley Marcus Collection, DeGolyer Library.

Peruna Advertisement

Peruna CuresWinter Catarrh, c.1900

SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.

Allen Ginsberg - Howl

Allen Ginsberg
Howl, and Other Poems
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Books, 1956.

Part of the Colophon Collection of Moderns, DeGolyer Library.

Fondren Groundbreaking

Fondren Library Groundbreaking, 1940
Mrs. And Mrs. W. W. Fondren, President Selecman, and others

SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.

Research Workshops this September

Research Workshops graphic

Get an introduction to research at Fondren Library Center! Workshops are free and open to current SMU students. See all upcoming workshops.

September workshops

Managing Citations

Managing Citations

Learn the essentials of using a citation manager, such as EndNote Basic or Refworks Flow.
Rebecca Graff, Research Librarian

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Time: 5:15 pm – 5:45 pm
Location: Fondren Library East, Room 323

More information

Preventing Plagiarism

Preventing Plagiarism

An overview of what is plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Presented by Hollie Gardner, User Experience Librarian
RSVP required.

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Fondren Library East, Room 323

More information

Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Learn how to find primary sources through SMU’s historical newspaper databases.
Presented by James Kessenides, Scholarly Communication and Humanities Research Librarian

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Fondren Library East, Room 323

More information

Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

An overview of citation formatting and bibliography creation using the Chicago Manual of Style.
Hosted by Beverly Mitchell, Art and Dance Librarian and Pam Pagels, Music Librarian

Date: Monday, September 28, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Location: Hamon Arts Library, Room 3210

More information

Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

An overview of citation formatting and bibliography creation using the Chicago Manual of Style.
Hosted by Beverly Mitchell, Art and Dance Librarian and Pam Pagels, Music Librarian

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Time: 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Location: Hamon Arts Library, Room 3210

More information

View all upcoming workshops

Lecture and Book Signing with C.W. Smith, May 28

C.W. Smith - A Throttled PeacockIn A Throttled Peacock: Observations on the Old World, self-styled boulevardier and novelist C.W. Smith takes a droll and ironic look at the antics of Europeans at home and Americans abroad in this off-beat memoir that gently mocks both traveler and host. With an underlying theme of misperception and the surprise of upended expectations, these essays form a singular vision that entertains even as they slyly instruct.

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2015
Time:  6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. lecture and book signing
Location: DeGolyer Library

This event is free and open to the public.  Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

C.W. Smith has written numerous novels, a collection of short stories, and a memoir. He was a Dedman Family Distinguished Professor at Southern Methodist University. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Marcia.

Technology in the Archives–and at the Academy Awards

 Fondren Library Center Lobby
On display through February 25, 2015

WeDr. Larry Hornbeck could not imagine our daily life without technology staples such as calculators, computers, high definition televisions, smartphones and many othDigital projector using the DMDer devices. Much of this modern technology started in the research labs at Texas Instruments with ideas and inventions leading to patents. DeGolyer Library holds the Texas Instruments archival records, which are rich in engineering papers and articles, correspondence, research notes, user manuals, photographs, and artifacts. One example is the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD), an optical semiconductor invented by TI fellow Dr. Larry Hornbeck in 1987. Texas Instruments developed Hornbeck’s invention into the Digital Light Processing technology, which today has a wide array of applications in medical imaging, communications, security and the entertainment industry, among others. The invention has earned TI recognition from the entertainment industry, such as an Emmy for digital projection technology in 1998. This month, Dr. Larry Hornbeck will receive the Academy Award of Merit for his contribution to the cinema projection technology.

Digital Micromirror Device DMD)

Pictured here is one of the first three DMDs manufactured for commercial use in 1991. The device is mounted on a PC board carrier, which has contact pads for 248 connections to the DMD. The device package has a heavy glass cover and a thick metal bottom; it uses a square mirror with torsion fibers on diagonal corners driven by a signal to a DRAM cell. The device is part of the Texas Instruments artifact collection held by the DeGolyer Library.

An exhibit case highlighting Dr. Larry Hornbeck and the DMD is now on display in the Fondren Library Center Lobby.

Contributed by Ada Negraru, DeGolyer Library Archival Assistant

New DeGolyer Exhibit: George W. Cook Texas/Dallas Images

Oak Cliff Postcard: George Cook Image Collection

New Exhibit at DeGolyer Library

First Impressions: The George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection

Dates: January 30 – May 15, 2015
Times: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: DeGolyer Library

About the exhibit

Pegasus atop the Magnolia BuildingThe George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection is an important addition to the DeGolyer Library and is a wonderful resource for research in Dallas and Texas history. A native Dallasite, George W. Cook (1949-2012) was a life-long collector, with a focus on Dallas and Texas primary sources. He had a special interest in photographs, postcards, advertising souvenirs, trade cards, badges, family collections, documents, art, postal history, and three-dimensional objects such as signs, regional porcelain and glass, and architectural ornaments. He was also fascinated by the State Fair of Texas, the 1936 Texas Centennial, and the history of aviation.

The strength of Cook’s collection lies in its visual images (over 2,200 photographs and 12,000 postcards), but there are also significant manuscripts, diaries, albums, banknotes, ephemera, books, pamphlets, broadsides and objects related to the city of Dallas and Texas. Chronologically, the collection ranges from a promissory note signed by Davy Crockett in Tennessee in 1829 to photographs of carhops at Sivil’s drive-in in mid-century Dallas. There are approximately 20,000 items altogether – a rich collection with a wide range of materials related to Dallas and Texas history!

Free and open to the public.

Selected items from the Cook Collection are being digitized. See more.

Examples from the Collection

Five People in a Touring Car Prop with 1915 State Fair of Texas in Dallas Banner
Greetings from Dallas, TexasView of Exall Lake, Dallas, TexasDallas, Texas

 Dallas Sky Line, January 1st, 1914

See more