Amy Jones-Timoney

By

College: Libraries

UK Leader's Career Archived in University History

Published: Nov 2, 2012

 

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2010) — Terry Birdwhistell understands – more than virtually anyone – what is really among the rows of books and periodicals that fill the W.T. Young Library at the University of Kentucky.

 

He understands the real value in the stacks of yellowed paper stored in mountains of boxes and the digital recordings that comprise UK’s immense oral history collection.

 

Together, of course, they impart knowledge.

 

But, collectively, they stand ready to tell people of a particular time and place, of its people and of institutions, like UK, that continue to speak to us over the passage of time.

       

Birdwhistell knows that an exploration of our past tells us something profoundly important about our future.

 

“I think the opportunity to interview university leaders over the last 35 years has given me insight of what people have tried to do to make this place better,” said Birdwhistell, dean of the UK Libraries. “The commitment that it takes to make it work and also the philosophy that at a place like the University of Kentucky, each generation plants seeds that the next generation harvests.”

 

Although Birdwhistell has only been dean of UK Libraries since 2010, his career at UK has spanned some four decades, starting from his time as a graduate student in the 1970s.

 

Today, he oversees a UK Libraries budget that exceeds $21 million. The collections comprise 4 million volumes, including more than 55,000 serial subscriptions and some 400 online databases. During his nearly four decades at UK, he also has served as associate dean for special collections and digital programs, university archivist and director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.

 

Birdwhistell helped found the UK Libraries’ Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. As an oral historian, he has conducted more than 800 oral history interviews with Kentuckians — including many UK presidents and governors — from all parts of the Commonwealth. He also has interviewed notable national figures such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lady Bird Johnson.

 

Birdwhistell started working as an oral historian in the UK libraries after graduating from Georgetown College. He had a master’s degree in history from UK, but decided to pursue graduate work in library science. It was during that period that the university instituted an employee education program that allows UK employees to pursue coursework and degrees for free.

 

Birdwhistell received his doctorate in educational policy studies, focusing his dissertation on the history of women at UK through World War II. Birdwhistell was able to use interviews he had done with women who had graduated from UK as early as 1912.

 

“I tell students that when it comes time to do a dissertation, pick something that you like working on because it will get really old quickly if you don’t enjoy the topic," he said. “I tell people I’m not in a bowling league and I don’t play golf you know, so I just wrote a dissertation.”

 

Birdwhistell has been a mentor to scores of UK students and scholars who have taken his class in oral history or who just want to understand better the rich tradition of the nearly 150-year-old flagship university.

 

“I understand that our job here is to make sure that we leave the place better than we found it,” Birdwhistell says. “So, that’s what I’m trying to do — is make sure we keep this library moving forward … I think part of our role at the University of Kentucky is to graduate students that have both technical knowledge and have knowledge of discipline, but also we want them to have an overall knowledge of how to get information and how to use information because that will help them in any career."

birdwhistell_see_leadership.jpgspotlightcovertbirdwhistell.jpg121016ukfallcolormc405.jpg
September
 
 
 
 
1
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
LGBTQ* and Friends Employee Picnic
Thu
2
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Fri
3
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sat
4
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sun
5
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
6
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Tue
7
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
UK Women's Club Volleyball - Open Gym
From The Streets to The Stage With Monti Washington
Wed
8
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
#IAMACCEPTANCE Let's Talk Mental Health with Hakeem Rahim
Thu
9
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
2016 New Chinese Students Welcome Party
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training
Fri
10
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
11
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Whipping In The Kitchen
Sun
12
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
13
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UKWC Welcome Coffee
Tue
14
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Greek Park Pictures
Wed
15
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Thu
16
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
A Day of Rising Strong
Fri
17
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
18
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sun
19
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
20
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
UK Women's Forum Board Meeting
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Cuban Heritage Festival
Tue
21
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Withdraw to Receive 50% Refund
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Wed
22
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
TGIT with SAB
Thu
23
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Fri
24
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
25
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Sun
26
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Let's Talk!
Empower: People of Color Support Group
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Mon
27
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UK Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair
Banned Books--A short history
Tue
28
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Cats Got The Vote
Business Internship & Career Fair
Women In Technology Gala event for UK undergraduate women
NSE (National Student Exchange) Information Session
Wed
29
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Yoga at Commonwealth Stadium
Thu
30
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Indonesia Focus Conference
Indonesia Focus Conference
Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital, and Craft Culture
Fri
 

Repeats every 7 days until Wed Dec 14 2016 .
Wed, 09/28/2016

Repeats every week every Wednesday until Wed Oct 05 2016 .
Wed, 09/28/2016

Wed, 09/28/2016

Reset Page