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”

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

Year of the Faculty Exhibit at Fondren

The Not So Secret Life of the Faculty

Fondren Library Center Lobby

October 1 – December 31, 2014

facultyProfessors teach classes— everyone knows this—but how do they spend their time outside of that MWF 8:00am seminar? Get a glimpse into the roles of Southern Methodist University professors as mentors, writers, researchers, donors, administrators, and more through this exhibition of faculty letters, manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, publications, and artifacts from the SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.

This exhibit is hosted in honor of SMU’s Year of the Faculty.

SMU’s Believe It Or Not! Part II – on exhibit at Fondren

SMU’s Believe It Or Not! Part II

SMU's Believe It or Not Exhibit - Part IIBION_II_TITLE_RIGHT_PRINTThe bizarre. The strange. THE UNUSUAL.

Exhibit on display: June 9 – September 22, 2014, Fondren Library Center Lobby

All right here from the SMU Libraries. Spanning multiple collections (including the George W. Cook Collection, Blackie Sherrod Papers, Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw Collection on the Performing Arts, and the SMU Archives) these items are among the many oddities held by the various libraries here on campus.

Examples from the Exhibit

SMU Toms
SMU Toms

SMU Toms: Blake Mycoskie ’99 received the Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes an outstanding alumnus or alumna for achievements within the past 15 years. (Distringuished Alumni Award) in November 2011. Blake Mycoskie entered SMU in 1995 and got his start as an entrepreneur while he was an undergraduate in Cox School of Business. He credits Jerry White’s entrepreneurship course in the Cox School with inspiring him to launch his own businesses and several times has returned to SMU to speak to White’s classes. Mycoskie’s first venture was a campus laundry service begun during his sophomore year at SMU and which expanded to seven universities. He launched several other businesses before establishing TOMS Shoes in 2006, combining business savvy with a humanitarian spirit. The idea grew from a trip to Argentina during which he saw countless children without shoes, unable to afford shoes. He returned to California with an inspiration to manufacture shoes based on a traditional Argentinean design and the commitment to give a pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. These are specially designed Tom’s given by Blake when he was awarded the Emerging Leader Award.

Joan Blondell’s fake eyelashes
Joan Blondell’s fake eyelashes

Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw Collection on the Performing Arts

Joan Blondell’s fake eyelashes

Hamon Arts Library

Battleship picture puzzle cubes
Battleship picture puzzle cubes

Battleship picture puzzle cubes

New York : McLoughlin Bros., [between 1910 and 1919?]

1 puzzle, 6 chromolithographs : paper, wood, color ; in box 28 x 34 x 7 cm

This picture puzzle cube game by McLoughlin Brothers of New York is housed in a wood box with twenty 2.5 inch square wood blocks with a different U.S. battleship on each side. Laid in the bottom of the box are five 10 x 12.5 inch chromolithographs describing the Texas, Brooklyn, Oregon, Maine, and Olympia battleships. These prints are guides for arranging blocks in the proper order.

DeGolyer Library

Matchbooks / Sivil’s tray / Life magazine cover
Matchbooks / Sivil’s tray / Life magazine cover

Matchbooks / Sivil’s tray / Life magazine cover

Sivil’s Drive In Restaurant was a Dallas institution for almost 30 years. It opened in 1940 at the corner of West Davis and Fort Worth Avenue on a three-acre lot. The attendants were called “curb girls” instead of car hops and wore specially tailored uniforms, one of whom was pictured on the cover of Life magazine in Feb., 1940.  Sivil’s closed in 1967, when Mr. and Mrs. Sivil retired.  This memorabilia is part of a large gift from the estate of Mr. George W. Cook. For most of his life, George W. Cook (1949-2012) collected Dallas and Texas primary sources. He had a special interest in photographs, postcards, advertising souvenirs, documents, art, postal history, and three-dimensional objects such as signs and architectural ornaments. He was also fascinated by the 1936 Texas Centennial, the State Fair of Texas, and the history of aviation. The strength of Cook’s collection lies in its visual images (over 2,200 photographs and 12,000 postcards, many real photographic postcards), but there are also significant manuscripts, diaries, albums, banknotes, ephemera, books, pamphlets, and broadsides. 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 probably 20,000 items altogether. Not yet ready for research but the collection is being processed as we speak.

George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection

Gift, 2014

DeGolyer Library

Hermes “Baby” Typewriter
Hermes “Baby” Typewriter

Hermes “Baby” Typewriter

Made in Switzerland

Ca. 1940s

Before there were laptops or I-pads, there were TYPEWRITERS! On display is a well-used and still functional model used by legendary sportswriter Blackie Sherrod, who used this piece of equipment in the pressbox of many a sporting event.

Blackie Sherrod was a Texas sports writer for almost six decades, writing for several newspapers, including both the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News. The Blackie Sherrod papers contain his notes from his sports reporting; letters, mostly from the general public; newspaper clippings on a variety of issues; sports publications from various special events (e.g., official programs from Super Bowl games, golf tournaments, and college bowl games); and photos of Sherrod with friends, celebrities, and work associates. Sherrod has written in pencil on the inside cover: “New ribbon Tues., Apr. 12, 1955.”

Part of the Blackie Sherrod Papers. Gift, Blackie Sherrod, 2003.

DeGolyer Library

King Arthur and His Knights Pinball game
King Arthur and His Knights Pinball game

King Arthur and His Knights


St. Louis: Northwestern Products, ca. 1950s?

Before there were videogames, there was PINBALL!  This exciting game would have kept Junior occupied for hours.  In the original box, with instructions for fun variations on the basic game. Part of the Frank Fogleman Collection on Arthurian Myth and Legend, which consists of over 1000 books, periodicals, and comics, as well as ephemera, art work, recordings, and games, with an emphasis on Arthur in popular culture.

Gift, 2011.

DeGolyer Library

Coins of Palestine
Coins of Palestine

Coins of Palestine

[Place of production not identified] : [producer not identified], [1948?]

27 coins mounted on paper board with a mat overlay : color illustration ; 43 x 74 cm

This framed collection of 27 mounted coins of Palestine dated 1927-1935, has a gold illustration of Palestine printed in the middle on the mat overlay with this text: Palestine was lost to the Turks in 1917 during World War I. In 1920 the League of Nations placed it under a British Mandatory Government. In 1948, following the precepts of the Balfour Declaration, the new state of Israel became a home for Jews.

DeGolyer Library; gift, Helga Feldman, 2013

All this on display… and more!

Related: SMU’s Believe It Or Not!  Exhibit Part I: June 25 – September 10, 2012


SMU Lit Fest : Then & Now – exhibit at Fondren Library Center through June 9

LitFest Then… And Now Exhibit

Lit Fest: Then and Now exhibitMarch 17 – June 9, 2014
Fondren Library Center Lobby

The first SMU Literary Festival was held in 1975 and for many years thereafter it attracted major stars of the literary world to Dallas.  John Updike, Eudora Welty, Kurt Vonnegut, John Cheever, T.C. Boyle, Louise Erdrich, Joseph Heller and Horton Foote were among the writers who filled McFarlin Auditorium at various times between 1975 and the mid-nineties.  This festival is credited with putting SMU on the literary map for many years.

Jack Myers, SMU Professor and one of the original advisors of the Literary Festival , contributed a fascinating essay describing some of the highlights (and low lights) of these early days.  A few excerpts from this essay are included in the exhibit, along with some of the early LitFest posters, signed by the authors.  This essay can be found in Marshall Terry’s history of SMU “From High on the Hilltop” along with many more personal reminiscences by various SMU faculty and staff members about SMU’s early days.

Students in SMU’s English Dept. were in control of the early LitFests.  Eventually Program Council took over.  The festival was held over 10 days each autumn.  There was much drinking and carousing and some hair-raising moments when advertised speakers cancelled at the last minute or showed up just minutes before they were to go on stage.

A few years ago, a group of industrious Creative Writing students from Professor David Haynes’ classes revived the LitFest in a slightly different format.  It is now focused on novelists and poets who, although  relatively early in their careers, are rising stars with recognition of their talents in the form of prizes, awards and fellowships.  This year’s LitFest authors will read and sign books, meet with creative writing students in workshops, and bring a fresh perspective to Professor Haynes’ creative writing classes during the week of March 18-22.  Go here for information on LitFest authors and activities:  .  All readings are free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.

This year, the LitFest has teamed with the Writers Garret to add a Local Small Press Fair to the LitFest lineup.   On March 18th, representatives of several local small presses will participate in a panel discussion about the changing world of publishing.  Following the panel discussion will be a reception and readings by several of the participants.

Examples from the exhibit

SMU Literary Festival 1980SMU Literary Festival 1989Lit Fest 1991SMU Literary Festival 1980, program

Fold This: The Foscue Map Library – on exhibit January 13 – March 17, 2014

Fold This: The Foscue Map Library


January 13, – March 17, 2014
Fondren Library Center Lobby

From navigating the SMU campus to the Solar system, maps have helped us locate, learn, uncover and discover throughout time. This exhibit highlights a variety of maps from CUL’s very own Foscue Map Library: maps of Dallas’ planned growth, three dimensional maps of mountain ranges, and globes of the moon, along with a selection of SMU campus maps from the DeGolyer Special Collections.

Examples from the exhibit

map03-thumb map04-thumb mapDal01-thumb

Related: Digital Map Collections

About Fondren Exhibits

The Fondren Exhibits Committee is charged with providing educational exhibits for the SMU community that showcase special events, academic areas and individuals associated with the SMU campus.