Professional News

UK Libraries Garners 2 Recognitions at Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation Awards

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Special Collections librarian Reinette Jones
Interview conducted in the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 29, 2021) — University of Kentucky LibrariesSpecial Collections Research Center (SCRC) earned two special recognitions this summer at the annual Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation Awards

SCRC librarian Reinette Jones was honored with the Clay Lancaster Heritage Education Award, given to an individual or group for their service in researching and disseminating information about the Central Kentucky region, and the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History was honored with the Public Service to Preservation Award, given to a government agency or official for their service to the preservation movement or to a specific project. 

“I was so excited that Reinette and the Nunn Center were selected for Blue Grass Trust Awards,” said Deirdre Scaggs, UK Libraries associate dean and director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. “Our missions in preserving Kentucky’s cultural history are closely aligned, and it’s incredible for them to be recognized for the important work they do for the Commonwealth and beyond.”

Reinette Jones received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in library science from UK. She has served the university and Lexington community at several campus locations since joining UK Libraries in 1988.

Currently serving as a member of the SCRC in community outreach, reference and research, and as an affiliate with African American and Africana Studies in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, Jones has developed several important resources for researchers at UK and beyond, including the research guide for lesbian studies and the Notable Kentucky African Americans (NKAA) Database

Co-founded by Jones and fellow UK librarian Rob Aken in 2003, the NKAA Database features entries with names, places, events, communities and sources that share the often untold or marginalized stories of African Americans in and from Kentucky.

“The main goal of the NKAA website is to bring together the pieces of information found in various resources in order to give our patrons a solid starting point for learning more about the African American experience in Kentucky,” Jones said. 

Boasting over 450,000 visits in the past year, the NKAA Database serves today as a major resource for research and learning at the state level with a growing patron base nationally and internationally. 

Since its founding in 1973, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History has engaged individuals and communities across the Commonwealth and nation to record their stories through comprehensive interviews with Nunn Center personnel or collaborative partners. 

“We have an incredible team at the Nunn Center, and I am so proud of the work we do,” said Doug Boyd, director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. “We are deeply honored by this award and for BGT's recognition of oral history's importance to preservation and community.”

The Nunn Center provides access to these interviews through the center’s online catalog, offering a unique look into histories of Kentucky and other regions. As of May 2021, the Nunn Center had officially accessioned its 15,000th interview. 

Recognized as a leader and innovator in the recording and preservation of oral histories, the Nunn Center has compiled a collection that encompasses a variety of topics, such as Appalachian history, the Civil Rights Movement, politics, public policy, health care and industries such as the coal, equine and bourbon industries. 

The Blue Grass Trust (BGT) for Historic Preservation Inc. is a membership-based nonprofit that advocates for historic preservation by protecting, revitalizing and promoting special historic places in Lexington in order to enhance the quality of life for future generations. Today, the BGT works to fulfill its mission of education, service and advocacy through the BGT plaque programBGT deTours, Preservation Matters magazine, seminars, walking tour brochures and more.

The Special Collections Research Center at UK Libraries sustains the Commonwealth’s memory and serves as the essential bridge between past, present and future. By preserving materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of Kentucky, the center provides rich opportunities for students to expand their worldview and enhance their critical thinking skills. Special Collections Research Center materials are used by scholars worldwide to advance original research and pioneer creative approaches to scholarship. UK Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center is the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection, the John G. Heyburn Initiative and ExploreUK.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.