Archive for the ‘Your Library in Action’ Category


Get a Job!

Monday, February 6th, 2017 | Posted in Graduate Students, Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Get a Job!


USF excels in graduating students prepared for employment, with 62% of graduates beginning careers in STEM, education, healthcare, and other high-demand fields, yet there remain opportunities for growth. 

Students enter college with a wide range of backgrounds and expectations. Some have decided to attend college more recently and aren’t sure how to plan for their eventual careers whereas others seem to have known what they wanted to do since kindergarten. USF has tools and services in place to help all of these students graduate and find jobs.

The Get a Job! series of career planning workshops for students developed from the confluence of several simmering ideas within the USF Tampa Library and a desire, on the part of USF Career Services, to reach students in new ways and places. Career-focused programming within the USF Tampa Library compliments in-library academic advising and the offerings of the Academic Success Center, toward an aim of meeting a multitude of student needs under one roof. Many students consider the library their on-campus home base, so bringing services to them is a natural way to improve access.


Get a Job! Fall 2016 presenters: Britt Self (USF Libraries Digital Media Commons), Doug Meyn and Alicia Walker (USF Career Services), and Nora Wood (USF Libraries). The 2017 lineup adds Career Services veteran Lynn Chisholm.

“I think this series got to the heart of what students were looking for, relative to their job search, and partnering with the USF Libraries team was a great way to reach them.”

-Alicia Walker, Assistant Director of Career Planning at USF Career Services

The Fall 2016 Get a Job! workshop offerings included five sessions, on topics ranging from researching the perfect major and industry for yourself, to building a smart and standout resume, through acing the interview once you’ve got it.

Student feedback on the first series was overwhelmingly positive:

“I found the workshops extremely helpful in many aspects. I was lucky and have applied to two companies, both of which I was offered a position with last semester. I have already accepted a job at one company here in Tampa… I definitely think it is something that should continue in the future.”

-TJ Ross, Masters Student in Electrical Engineering


USF student Katherine Martin

“All of the information was really helpful. I went to a charter school and they didn’t give these practical job search tips. This is the first time I’ve learned how to craft my resume and take the next steps.”

-Katherine Martin, Biomedical Sciences major and aspiring Pediatrician

The expanded Spring 2017 workshop lineup adds a topic on internships and includes two additional evening sessions on two of the most popular topics for students whose schedules don’t permit them to attend the daytime sessions. With just the first workshop completed so far, registration for the spring series has already exceeded that of the entire Fall 2016 series. The Spring 2017 series will be recorded and posted online, dramatically expanding student reach.

“From freshmen to seniors, this series allowed students to better prepare themselves for their future careers by giving them the tools and the knowledge to craft better resumes, research companies and industries, and prepare for job interviews.”

-Assistant librarian for business, Nora Wood

How can you help grow this kind of far-reaching student support? Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 to discuss your contribution.


Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 9.16.47 AM


Collections on the Cutting Edge

Friday, September 30th, 2016 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Collections on the Cutting Edge

The physical record of human history is in constant peril. Factors both manmade and natural are at odds with the preservation of artifacts that tell the story of civilization. Tropical humidity, armed conflict, mining, sea level rise, earthquakes, and even sunlight are just a few of the threats facing important sites around the globe.

A groundbreaking new initiative at the USF Libraries called the Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections (DHHC) seeks to preserve some of these imperiled objects, sites, and landscapes in cutting-edge digital collections and make them freely accessible to the world.

Two highly-regarded researchers, Drs. Lori Collins and Travis Doering, have joined the USF Libraries faculty in a move designed to maximize the research value and utility of their renowned cultural heritage preservation work. Collins and Doering bring a decade of experience in 3D archaeology to provide a cutting-edge boost to the longstanding digital collections on offer by the USF Libraries. Their expertise is in creating the kind of high-quality preservation materials often associated with top museums and, occasionally, government entities. A key difference here is that these outputs are made available as open data for exploration and manipulation by students, researchers, and the public.

A year-long project documenting the Haghpat Monastery complex in Armenia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, began with two weeks on location. Using drones, the team captured aerial photography and a ‘point cloud’ of physical coordinates as well as ground-level, high-resolution imagery of artifacts and architectural details. When combined with GIS (geospatial/global mapping) data, these assets create a robust collection valuable to scholars in a vast range of disciplines.


In the Americas, there is a race against time to preserve another UNESCO World Heritage site — the Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua, a former Mayan royal residence and administrative center in southeastern Guatemala. Humidity, mold, the relentless creep of jungle vegetation, and common vandalism are some of the threats to these monuments. The DHHC team visits the site to digitally image and, in some cases digitally reconstruct, features of the site.

Collins and Doering have worked extensively in Guatemala, documenting museum collections and archaeological sites, and this work will provide collection materials that include 3D models and images of hundreds of fragile carved stone monuments and architectural features from the country.


The USF Tampa Library offers an ideal location and learning climate in which to house these efforts. In addition to the eye-opening visualization outputs that result from this work, a relationship with the library’s Digital Media Commons (DMC) will allow students to explore object scanning and 3D printing technology at dedicated workstations, learning marketable, cutting-edge technologies.

In 2015, students from Dr. Collins’ Museum Visualization Class used Cape Canaveral 3D data to create a virtual exhibit in the Digital Media Commons area of the USF Library.

In 2015, students from Dr. Collins’ Museum Visualization Class used Cape Canaveral 3D data to create a virtual exhibit in the Digital Media Commons area of the USF Library.

Under the leadership of Drs. Collins and Doering, the DHHC team currently includes Jorge Gonzalez, who contributes extensive imaging expertise and 3D modeling skills to the USF Libraries; Garrett Speed, a graduate of the USF Geography program, works in areas of 3D mapping and survey, GIS, and photographic documentation. Speed will also work with the DMC to bring the technology to the wider student and faculty audience. USF Libraries GIS specialist Richard McKenzie is also working with the DHHC, providing the technical aspects of cartography and analyses, and continuing outreach and consultation on research projects with graduate students and faculty.

Garrett Speed, Richard McKenzie, Dr. Lori Collins, Jorge Gonzalez, Dr. Travis Doering

Garrett Speed, Richard McKenzie, Dr. Lori Collins, Jorge Gonzalez, Dr. Travis Doering

The USF Libraries are redefining what libraries can offer the world. To support efforts like these, consider making a gift to the USF Tampa Library. Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at 813-974-4433 to discuss your contribution.


Reorganizing For The Future: Digital Scholarship Services

Monday, August 15th, 2016 | Posted in Graduate Students, Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Reorganizing For The Future: Digital Scholarship Services


Dean of the USF Libraries Todd Chavez“The word ‘digital’ increasingly appears throughout higher education — digital humanities, digital science, digital collections, and so on.
The formation of the Digital Scholarship Services department under the leadership of Carol Ann Borchert embodies our commitment to actions that go well beyond the terminology. While the Digital Media Commons team focuses largely on undergraduate student success, this new unit will target faculty and graduate student needs. These complementary missions will ensure that the library is benefiting all audiences and needs.”
-Todd Chavez, Dean of the USF Libraries


The University of South Florida Libraries have long been pioneers in the digital realm. From open access scholarly publishing to digital special collections to oral histories, we’ve consistently been among the first to test and deploy innovative technologies in our quest to improve access to information. It’s no surprise, then, that the digital ethic would inform the evolution of services in multiple areas of the library.

Under the visionary leadership of Dean Todd Chavez, the USF Libraries recently concluded a year-long collaborative strategic planning exercise. Among the outcomes of closer alignment with USF system goals and improving the delivery of existing services, library faculty and staff identified in-house strengths which could be leveraged to greatly benefit USF students and faculty.

Carol Ann Borchert, Director of the Digital Scholarship Services unit

Director of Digital Scholarship Services Carol Ann Borchert

Out of this exercise, Digital Scholarship Services (DSS) was born. An existing digitization group had largely been charged with scanning, creating, and posting digital collections – primarily items from Special Collections. Another group within the Academic Resources unit focused on scholarly communications: an institutional repository for faculty publications, the publication of open access journals and textbooks, and the hosting of online conference proceedings – areas in which USF is a national leader. Both groups have focused on providing research materials in an open access format for researchers worldwide. Skill sets that had been siloed in two units are now combined for greater efficiency as well as seemingly limitless strategic synergy. As Carol Ann Borchert, the newly-appointed director of the DSS unit, puts it “USF has a universe of remarkable collections, and now they will be accessible without the need to come to our building in person to dig for them.”


“I’m excited about the new Digital Scholarship Services unit and honored by the opportunity to lead it as the new Director.  I look forward to working with faculty and researchers to build unique collections that will be available open access online.  These collections will support researchers worldwide, enhance educational opportunities, and showcase the work being done here at USF.”
-Carol Ann Borchert, Director, Digital Scholarship Services


USF’s potential to revolutionize digital scholarship is limitless. To support these efforts, consider making a gift to the USF Tampa Library. Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at 813-974-4433 to discuss your contribution.


How Did Tampa Restore the Health of Its Bay?

Friday, June 3rd, 2016 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on How Did Tampa Restore the Health of Its Bay?

The Tampa Bay Estuary Oral History Project

Bayshore Boulevard today (Photo courtesy Paul Einselen)

Bayshore Boulevard today (Photo courtesy Paul Einselen)

On any given day, scores of people can be seen boating or fishing in Tampa Bay, and hundreds more jogging or cycling along the Bay’s famed Bayshore Boulevard sidewalk. Today, we take the general health and pleasantness of the waters of Tampa Bay for granted — but that wasn’t always the case.

As Tampa developed, its bay was often used as a consumable natural resource – early on, fossilized oyster shell was dredged for road construction and, as the infrastructure needs of the City grew, it became a convenient dumping ground for wastewater discharge. This eventually took its toll: by the 1950s, once-abundant seagrass meadows in the bay had diminished greatly. As the volume grew, the wastewater discharge could no longer be assimilated – the output was too great for adequate dilution of the pollution. The bay had become putrid. The smell of decomposing seaweed as one walked down Bayshore Boulevard made it difficult to breathe.

From USF Libraries' Skip Gandy Commerical and Aerial Photography Collection

From USF Libraries’ Skip Gandy Commercial and Aerial Photography Collection

Awareness of the problem increased along with the heightened environmental consciousness of the 1960s and was bolstered by legislation passed in an effort to protect natural resources. As the community became increasingly aware of water pollution, a series of Clean Water Act measures in the 1970’s provided recognition on the federal level.

By then, Tampa was treating its wastewater with primary and secondary processes, but a tertiary level of treatment was necessary for discharged water to avoid eutrophying the receiving waters. This third level of treatment is what makes the water usable again. As ecologist Dr. Ann Hodgson explains, “When discharged wastewater hasn’t been sufficiently treated, the bay’s water becomes less clear – opaque, sometimes – preventing sunlight from penetrating the 1-to-9 feet needed to nourish sea grass. That’s why sea grass populations are such a good indicator of water quality.”

Dr. Ann Hodgson and Stan Kroh, Manager of Land and Stewardship Programs for TECO Energy, discussing environmental conditions of Tampa Bay

Dr. Ann Hodgson, ecologist and interviewer for these oral histories, discusses environmental conditions of Tampa Bay with Stan Kroh, Manager of Land and Stewardship Programs for TECO Energy

Early researchers and scientists raised questions about the bay, and then momentum developed around the need to address water quality. Skip Gandy and his father took thousands of aerial photos for the Bay Study Group and Tampa Bay Estuary Program, documenting the quality of the bay season after season (photos that are now housed in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections Department).

Beginning in the 1970s and continuing in the years that followed, citizen interest in restoring the bay provided motivation to establish the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Agency on Bay Management, and tertiary treatment was added at the Howard F. Curren wastewater plant. Tampa Electric Company (TECO) added equipment on all four units at Big Bend Power Station that reduced nitrogen oxide emissions 91%, further improving water quality. In 2016, a significant goal was reached when 40,295 acres of seagrass were mapped, more than the objective set in 1995 of 38,000 acres, as part of the 40-year process to restore the Bay.

The complex interaction of scientists, elected officials, activists, and regulators illustrates a remarkable collaboration around a shared goal. In order to preserve this expertise and share it with the public, the USF Libraries launched The Tampa Bay Estuary: An Oral History of Community Collaboration to Restore Ecological Integrity in order to document the details of this important environmental restoration process. The project was led by Dr. Ann Hodgson, a leading Florida ecologist who conducted the interviews, and generously funded by TECO Energy.

The oral history interviews in the Tampa Bay Estuary project relate to many of the USF Libraries’ existing extensive environmental sustainability collections, many of which focus on the Tampa Bay area.

USF Libraries Special Collection Librarian Andy Huse worked closely with Dr. Hodgson on this project, and has extensive knowledge of the environmental collections that it complements. He summarizes the value of this project:

“This project was a way for Special Collections to curate the environmental collections we currently have. In conversation, the citizens and scholars Dr. Hodgson interviewed make complex theories and relationships understandable for the interested people outside the scientific community.”
-USF Special Collections Librarian Andy Huse

The USF Libraries are grateful to TECO Energy for their generous grant support of this important project.



2016 Best Use of the Research Literature Award Winner Amanda Kerstman

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on 2016 Best Use of the Research Literature Award Winner Amanda Kerstman

Some of the very best and brightest work of USF undergraduates is on display each Spring at the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium, presented by the USF Office for Undergraduate Research. Featuring nearly 500 presenters, the Colloquium is the largest undergraduate research conference in the state of Florida. If you haven’t yet been, it is an inspiring array of work presented by enthusiastic, focused students. Even more impressive, then, are works that stand apart from their Colloquium peers and garner research awards. Now in its fourth year, the Best Use of the Research Literature award was established in 2013 by USF Libraries Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham to honor scholarly work that picks up from an understanding of what work in the chosen discipline has already learned, and puts its sources to good use.

2016 BURL Award Winner Amanda Kerstman in the USF Libraries Digital Media Commons

2016 Best Use of the Research Literature Award Winner Amanda Kerstman in the USF Libraries Digital Media Commons, where she learned to edit and produce her videos

Senior psychology honors student Amanda Kerstman is the winner of the 2016 award for her undergraduate thesis, “Anthropomorphism and the Power of Effectance Motivation: Effects of Providing Information on Common Bottlenose Dolphin Behavior to People High in Effectance Motivation.” Kerstman availed herself of an impressive array of library resources in this project as well as throughout her academic career at USF, including electronic article databases and journals, Interlibrary Loan, an in-class library instruction session, the Library website’s Google Scholar direct search interface, and the Digital Media Commons, where she edited and produced the dolphin interaction videos she showed participants as part of her study.


“The Library award for “Best Use of the Research Literature” this year goes to Psychology Honors student Amanda Kerstman. Amanda’s passion is marine mammals. Her bibliographic essay focused on the impact of anthropomorphism when humans interact with mammals in an aquatic setting such as an aquarium. Her highly skilled navigation and use of the research literature resulted in the discovery of important scholarship in this area. We wish Amanda the best this year as she graduates and hopes to land a job as a trainer at one of Florida’s many aquariums. This is the fourth year of this award and it continues to attract a diverse group of highly skilled undergraduate researchers.”
-Award Donor and USF Libraries Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham


Dolphin interaction video still from footage shown to participants during her study

Dolphin interaction video still from footage shown to participants during Kerstman’s study


“I don’t think I would have been able to do such a great job with the editing if I didn’t have the (USF Libraries) Digital Media Commons. I didn’t have the programs to use on my computer, nor did I have the knowledge of what settings to use to adjust the volume of the narration and sync it at the right times in the video… I just walked in and asked for help. It was very easy.”
-USF Undergraduate Researcher and Award Winner Amanda Kerstman, on her experience of learning video editing at the USF Libraries Digital Media Commons in the midst of conducting her research project


Some of the most motivated undergrads participating in the annual OUR Colloquium jump-start their careers as a result of the work they present. Amanda has accepted an invitation to present on her thesis at the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums annual conference this November, is working on a revision of a manuscript for the journal Aquatic Mammals, and even has two job offers – one in Bodrum, Turkey as an Apprentice Marine Mammal Trainer and the with Sea World Orlando. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in this field.

One of 2015’s two Best Use of the Research Literature award winners, Ahmed Mohamed, is graduating from USF this semester at the age of 18 and beginning law school and medical school simultaneously. Read his story here.

There are a variety of ways to support these research awards. For example, a gift of $25,000 can endow a research award like this in perpetuity, in your or your family’s name. Become involved in recognizing and supporting students who are making the most of their educational opportunities: contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433.


What is USF Doing to Address Textbook Affordability?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on What is USF Doing to Address Textbook Affordability?

The cost of textbooks has risen disproportionately in recent years. More so than tuition and living expenses, textbooks have become less affordable — sometimes even influencing which subject areas students choose to study.

In an effort to bolster student success, the University of South Florida launched the Textbook Affordability Project in 2010. Popularly known as ‘TAP,’ the initiative aims to approach the problem of textbook affordability and access from multiple angles. Efforts include connecting students with news and options for gaining access to textbooks, fostering faculty development of open access textbooks that are free for students to use, securing copies of high-demand textbooks and lending them for three hours at a time within the library, and working with faculty to cull course materials from existing library collections, which poses no additional cost to USF students.

One element of the project, Textbooks on Course Reserve, offers financially challenged students an alternative to buying expensive textbooks. Copies of printed textbooks are purchased or donated and placed on reserve in the USF Tampa Library for students to come in and use. Students we have spoken with estimate that this one component of the Textbook Affordability Project has saved them anywhere from $350 to over $5,000.

“I think this is a wonderful program. I wish other universities did it. This is one of the reasons I decided to come to USF.”

-Sabrina, majoring in Civil Engineering and Mathematics

“It’s really helped me personally. I haven’t been able to afford textbooks. They are very expensive, especially in the sciences.”

-Grace, Biomedical Sciences major and USF Green and Gold Tour Guide

Another way the USF Textbook Affordability Project is addressing the gap between the desire to learn and the budget to do so is through open access textbooks, which are available online and free for all to use. Some of the open access textbooks hosted by USF are incredibly popular, with over 200,000 downloads. The first fully USF-sponsored open access textbook is a partnership between USF Innovative Education and the USF Libraries. Dr. Jenifer Schneider, associate professor in literacy studies, was chosen to author the online educational resource that includes rich multimedia content while also providing cost savings for the 400 students that take her course each year. Dr. Schneider sees this kind of work as an opportunity for faculty to create the kind of tailored material that best serves their students.

“When the opportunity arose, it was a perfect match for this kind of content. The book I had been using is very expensive and is not a great match in terms of content.”

-Dr. Jenifer Schneider, USF Associate Professor in Literacy Studies

Download the USF Textbook Affordability Project Impact BriefThe numbers on are in, and the savings are newsworthy. See for yourself – ROI graphs and executive summaries are in our Textbook Affordability Impact Brief.

How can you help ensure this kind of far-reaching student support continues? Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 to discuss your contribution.







Dr. Geoffrey Giles Decodes Nazi Treatment of Homosexuals

Monday, November 16th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Dr. Geoffrey Giles Decodes Nazi Treatment of Homosexuals

The USF Libraries LGBT Studies and Holocaust Studies Initiatives came together in 2015 to present an event that shed light on a little-understood area of World War II history. On October 27th, 2015, Dr. Geoffrey Giles spoke to a large USF crowd, sharing his original research on this subject in “Persecution but No Homocaust: The Homosexual Problem in Nazi Germany.”

A rapt crowd listens to Dr. Giles relate the history of Nazi attitudes toward homosexuality

Beginning with the legacy of the German states that had done away with the criminalization of sodomy, Giles traced the specific-yet-evadable penal code passed after German Unification through to the height of gay culture in Berlin in the late 1920s, and on to probable causes for increasingly virulent Nazi attitudes toward homosexuals.

Despite ideas promulgated by gay victims of the Nazis in the 1970s, the Nazis were not focused on eliminating all homosexuals from Germany. Hitler had only an apparent mild dislike for the homosexual community — at least initially. In fact, one of his closer advisors was Ernst Röhm, commander of the Nazi Storm Battalion (also known as the ‘SA’ or ‘Brownshirts’), who was gay.

However, the tide began to turn when the opposition Social Democrats began to incite public concern about Röhm’s involvement with the Hitler Youth. He was ultimately killed in the “Night of the Long Knives” purge.

In June 1935, the law changed. Prosecutors and judges, frustrated with acquittals, developed new language that began to include victims of assault. This had devastating implications at all levels of society. Watch the video for the fascinating full story:



While at USF, Dr. Giles remarked on the depth of USF Tampa Libraries LGBT and Holocaust Studies collections:

“You have some really remarkable and extremely rare material here. Wonderful materials for potential graduate students to work on. I think I will be coming down again myself.”

Dr. Geoffrey Giles is Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Florida. His extensive research in this area has included study seminars for college faculty at the death camps in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany on behalf of the Holocaust Education Foundation, and he served for many years on the State of Florida Education Commissioner’s task force on Holocaust education. A highly sought-after speaker, he planned to follow our October event at USF with a keynote address at the Sorbonne in Paris, speaking on Nazi concepts of masculinity and attitudes toward homosexuality.

“Persecution But No Homocaust” was sponsored by the USF Libraries Holocaust and Genocide Studies  and LGBT Studies Initiatives in partnership with the Florida Holocaust Museum.

Events like these make USF Libraries collections come alive. You can be a part of it. Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development to make a cash or in-kind contribution today: (813) 974-4433.


A Seed Planted

Friday, October 9th, 2015 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on A Seed Planted

There is a common thread among students who have undertaken intensive research projects in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections Department. So moved are they by their experiences that they describe them as “transformative,” “life-changing,” and a “high point” of their academic career. Stacy Dolan talks about her recently completed year long research position working with the papers of Betty Castor in much the same way:

“It was one of the most indispensable things I’ve done in my whole life. It gave me the ability to work from my own strengths and plan my own path, on my own schedule and a with a really long time scale – and being self-directed in that entire pursuit.”

-Stacy Dolan, USF ’14

Stacy Dolan presents her research to a packed Grace Allen Room at the USF Tampa Library.

Stacy Dolan presents her research to a packed Grace Allen Room at the USF Tampa Library.

A 2014 USF Honors College graduate, Ms. Dolan came to the attention of the USF Libraries through a recommendation from Dr. Susan MacManus, Distinguished University Professor in USF’s Department of Government and International Affairs. In addition to having taught Stacy in several courses, Dr. MacManus was the chair of Stacy’s honors thesis committee and worked with Stacy while she was in a leadership role within the USF chapter of political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha. Of Stacy, she says:

“I was really impressed with the quality of her research skills, her writing, and interest in anything about women in politics — so it was a perfect fit.”

-Dr. Susan MacManus, USF Distinguished University Professor


Watch the video of Stacy’s research presentation here:


The Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative forms an important and growing part of the USF libraries Florida Studies Collections. A gift from Betty Castor, one of the collection’s notable donors, made possible a year-long intensive research project. Stacy Dolan chose to focus on Betty Castor’s efforts to ratify the ERA in Florida. She has a message for others who may be considering a gift to sponsor a research award:

“When you sponsor a project like this, you are changing someone’s life. Letting them prove they are the researcher they have been working toward becoming. Special Collections is a wonderful learning laboratory and this work bolsters USF in general. This transformative opportunity is not easily replaced with an internship or on the job experience. It is not something you can just go out into the world and find for yourself. “Its a seed planted.”


Stacy has begun work in legal writing and research job for a prominent local firm. She hopes to have her 96-page research paper published in 2016.



USF Libraries Civil Rights Collections Highlighted in New Saunders Library

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on USF Libraries Civil Rights Collections Highlighted in New Saunders Library

Civil rights leaders Robert and Helen Saunders donate extensive and noted records of the Saunders’ civil rights battles during the past 30 years to Special Collections in the USF Library.  Oracle 2/5/85 (with Dr. Steve Lawson, USF History Department)

Civil rights leaders Robert and Helen Saunders donate extensive and noted records of the Saunders’ civil rights battles during the past 30 years to Special Collections in the USF Library. Oracle 2/5/85 (with Dr. Steve Lawson, USF History Department)

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative’s stunning new Robert W. Saunders Library, near Ybor City, at 1505 N. Nebraska Avenue opened in August after years of community effort.

The new Saunders library features both interactive multimedia exhibits as well as exhibition space. In addition to the use of items from USF Libraries collections in the permanent exhibits, the organizers of the new facility asked the USF Libraries, the City of Tampa Archives and the Tampa Bay History Center, to create displays for the space. Showcasing these partnerships provides a natural pathway for Saunders Library patrons interested in pursuing substantive research in local historical archives, such as the materials in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections department.

“When it comes to African American history, the USF Tampa Library has some of the stronger collections in the area. Black Tampa is a lot like Latin Tampa — you can’t skip USF when it comes to research.”

– Special Collections Librarian Andy Huse

The exhibition aims to improve awareness of the breadth of related collections here on site, in part as a way to reach out to community members interested in conducting research and helping them understand where to go next.


A portion of the USF Libraries civil rights material on exhibition at the Saunders Library

Robert W. Saunders suspended his legal studies in 1952 to become the Florida field director of the NAACP. He took over the role from Harry T. Moore, another fearless leader in Florida’s civil rights history. Mr. Moore and his wife were killed on Christmas Day in 1951 when the Ku Klux Klan placed a bomb under their home in the exact spot where their bed was. This took place after Moore’s tireless work concerning the Lake County Sheriff’s alleged mistreatment and murder of several black defendants in a case in Groveland, FL.

During his 14 years with the NAACP, Saunders led Florida through a turbulent period of change, including landmark legal decisions on voting rights, school desegregation, the integration of public beaches, facilities, and housing, equal pay for Black teachers, and many other milestones.

Robert W. Saunders in 1952

Robert W. Saunders in 1952

The USF Tampa Library has the Robert and Helen Saunders papers – the Saunderses gave them in the 1980s. Then-USF history professor Dr. Steve Lawson was conducting research in this area and was instrumental in the gift of the Saunders’ papers to the USF Tampa Library.

Special Collections Librarian Andy Huse remarks on the way the related collections work together: “We have so many collections of the papers of important political figures from these challenging times in race relations – Sam Gibbons, Leroy Collins, for example – that you can get a full picture of the interconnectedness and historical context. In the correspondence, you hear a lot of voices weighing in – a lot of white anger over integration, and similar sentiments. We even have the papers of Sumter Lowry, an arch-conservative white supremacist during this period; researchers can see the opposition papers to understand the dynamic.”

“Robert Saunders wanted his papers to be used, so he gave them to us. If you want your legacy to be hidden under glass, give it to a museum.”

To support the preservation of and research with collections like these, contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 or bmarks@usf.edu.


Down the Rabbit Hole: From the Sublime to the Bizarre in USF Libraries Special Collections

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | 1 Comment »

Bohemia - Latino Community Newsletter - Tampa - early 1900sArchives Awareness Week is a chance for the community to peek inside the vaunted treasure chest that is USF Libraries Special Collections. In addition to famed historical material — from Tampa’s cigar-producing legacy to photos from the Nuremberg trials — there is a host of new and rare materials to explore.

This year’s event, Down the Rabbit Hole: From the Sublime to the Bizarre in USF Libraries Special Collections, will feature a number of Alice in Wonderland-related acquisitions within our Lewis Carroll collection, newly-acquired historical LGBT memorabilia, as well as documents that trace the Johns Committee’s “Witch Hunt” for purported homosexual and communist faculty at a brand-new USF in the 1960s. Extremely rare and unique early 20th century Tampa Latino community newsletters will also be on display for the first time.


You are invited!


Down the Rabbit Hole:

From the Sublime to the Bizarre

in USF Libraries Special Collections

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

1-3 PM

USF Tampa Library Special Collections (4th Floor)

4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, 33606


Special Collections Librarians Matt Knight, Andy Huse, and Melanie Griffin will be on hand at the event to provide context and sources for additional learning. The Archives Awareness Week event is free and open to the public.

Archives Awareness Week is presented in partnership with the City of Tampa. Special exhibitions will be available for viewing at the Tampa Bay History Center, Plant Museum and more. (link to http://bit.ly/1RkwDpp )

(813) 974-2729

4202 E. Fowler Ave. LIB122 Tampa FL 33620

Library Initiatives

Scholar Commons | Karst Information Portal
Holocaust & Genocide Studies | Florida Studies Center
Oral History Program | Textbook Affordability Project

Follow Us