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Undergraduate Research Stars Rely on the USF Libraries

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Undergraduate Research Stars Rely on the USF Libraries

Looking for inspiration? Go no further than the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium. Produced by the Office for Undergraduate Research, this competitive annual event showcases some of USF’s brightest and most engaged students. Of the 400 research projects on exhibit this year, a handful were singled out for special recognition. The USF Tampa Library’s own Director of Library Services, Nancy Cunningham, is so inspired by this variety of undergraduate student that she created and funds an award honoring a student who has made especially astute use of the research literature while pursuing their Colloquium project.

This year, the Best Use of Research Literature Award was given to Eduardo Garcia, an Interdisciplinary Classical Civilizations major and pre-medicine major Ahmed Mohamed.

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed

Garcia’s project, The Naval Aspect of Sulla’s Campaign against the Poison King and Rome (mentor: William Murray), required intensive in-person, hands-on research in search of information on the little-known naval aspect of this period. Indicative of Mr. Garcia’s stated passion for Near Eastern history, his studies required him not only to work in ancient Greek and Latin, but to pore over a seemingly endless number of tomes in the USF Tampa Library’s reference holdings and in Special Collections. Of the USF Tampa Library, he says, “I could not have done it without the library… the resources and collections here – especially Special Collections – are so undervalued. To have so much compiled into one space is vital, especially for classics and history.” Mr. Garcia plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the field at Columbia University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduation this fall.

Ahmed Mohamed’s paper, Traditions of Thought on Biomedical Ethics in Subsaharan Africa (mentors: Anatoli Ignatov, Richard Pollenz), presents a review of recent field work in Uganda, Tanzania, and Benin and contrasts those nations’ more holistic approach to health care with typical models in the US. In the course of conducting his research, Mr. Mohamed availed himself of a great number of library resources: “My research would not have happened without the library – everything that I used was literature based and not always available locally. I used Interlibrary Loan and UBorrow to get the resources I needed.” Mr. Mohamed intends to pursue a career in neurology.

USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)

USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)

“Navigating the research literature to uncover new publications, draw out trends, and unearth unique perspectives is a challenge for even the most seasoned scholars.  This year’s award winners, Eduardo Garcia and Ahmed Mohamed proved themselves to have the critical thinking skills, tenacity, and technical savvy necessary to wade through the scholarship and deliver new insights on their topics.  The faculty mentors for both young men remarked on their high level of skill and passion for research.

Eduardo and Ahmed are true inspirations to me and my librarian colleagues — not to mention their fellow students.”
-Donor and USF Libraries Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham

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 .

Where in the world is it?

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Where in the world is it?

Google Maps NavigationDo you get driving directions from your mobile phone app, check in on Facebook, or use Zillow to research housing prices? You probably didn’t realize how often or how adroitly you use Geographic Information Systems, better known by the initialism ‘GIS.’

GIS software makes use of map information to organize data and enhance its usefulness. Think of it as computerized mapping. You may have heard of the USF Tampa Library’s expertise in connecting researchers’ cave and ocean data to corresponding locations on a world map, but Karst Regions of the World and C-IMAGE are just the beginning.

Richard McKenzie and Pete Reehling work on a project utilizing GIS modeling of the neighborhood area lost due to construction of I-275.

Richard McKenzie and Pete Reehling review a project utilizing GIS modeling of a swath of neighborhood homes lost to initial construction of I-275.

USF Libraries’ work with GIS has come a long way since it’s inception in 2000. Noting the US Geological Survey and other government information agencies’ growing adoption of GIS technologies, USF Libraries Director of Academic Resources Todd Chavez worked with the Council of Deans and then-Provost David Stamps to conduct a comprehensive needs analysis of academic departments in the USF system, which the USF Tampa Library then developed the infrastructure to serve. Since then, the Library’s GIS team –Pete Reehling, Richard McKenzie, and Todd Chavez — has maintained the license for USF student and faculty projects that have a GIS component, and have even tracked down datasets that were essential to research projects. Recent projects that the team has been involved with include an undergraduate student plant survey of USF’s Tampa Campus, a faculty book on gerrymandering that made use of block-level census data, post-Deepwater Horizon C-IMAGE research by College of Marine Science faculty that maps petroleum markers in seafood (including the commercial harvest), and an incredible range of projects in public health, aging studies, business, economics, history, and, of course, geosciences.

An 1853 survey map of downtown Tampa overlaid with current satellite images

An 1853 survey map of downtown Tampa aligned atop current satellite images allows comparison and exploration.

Much of the GIS work taken on is national or global in scope. However, in 2014, the USF Tampa Library’s GIS expertise was applied to two decidedly local projects focused on Tampa’s history. In one, an overlay of an 1853 survey map of Downtown Tampa was overlaid to facilitate interactive comparison with present-day satellite photography of downtown. Users can drag the edge between the two maps to compare how the contours of the Hillsborough river’s bank and land uses downtown have changed in the 162 intervening years.

The satellite map of Ybor City allows exploration of current-day locations where historic photos were taken by the famed Burgert Brothers.

The satellite map of Ybor City allows exploration of current-day locations where historic photos were taken by the famed Burgert Brothers.

In another project, placement of popular local photographs from 1917 to the early 1960s by the Burgert Brothers connect settings of the historic images with locations where they were taken on a current map of Ybor City. This project, a local favorite, is expected to grow in the next few years to include more of these cherished images.

Many of the GIS projects involving the USF Libraries are viewable at bit.ly/usflib-gis.

Dr. JoAnn Sullivan's work on urban heat island effects is shown here. Click to interact with this map.

Dr. JoAnn Sullivan’s work on urban heat island effects is shown here. Click to interact with this map.

Your support of the USF Libraries allows this kind of cutting edge support for contemporary, relevant scholarship throughout the university. Consider making a cash gift today. Contact the USF Libraries office of Development at (813) 974-4433 to donate or request more information.

Capturing Florida’s Impressive Public Health Journey

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Capturing Florida’s Impressive Public Health Journey

Public health, as a discipline, relies heavily on numbers and statistics, abstractions that make population-scale information useful. But in order to gain a complete picture of how decisions are made, tomorrow’s leaders benefit from the hard-won expertise of public health pioneers. The anecdotes, inside perspective, and historical memory of those who essentially invented public health in the state of Florida are now available for all to learn from.

Dr. Charles Mahan

Dr. Charles Mahan

In 1997, realizing that an entire generation of wisdom was on the verge of being lost, then-Dean of the College of Public Health (now Dean Emeritus) Dr. Charles Mahan spearheaded an initiative to record the oral histories of 60 experts in what came to be the Florida Public Health Oral History Project. Working with Dr. Mahan were Dr. E. Charlton Prather, a former Florida health officer, and Sam Fustukjian, the late director of the USF Libraries. Dr. Prather interviewed administrators, midwives, physicians, laboratory managers, epidemiologists, nurses, and many other experts, prominent in the field of public health in Florida. The interviews were conducted at Florida Department of Health units in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and West Palm Beach, as well as on campus at the USF College of Public Health, between 1997 and 2002, yet the memories recorded stretch back to the 1920s.

The interviewees discuss their motivation to pursue a career in the field, their education, the challenges and highlights of their jobs, and their determination to ensure the health of the people of Florida despite organizational upheaval and the vicissitudes of state politics. In addition, insights such as the strategies used to make Florida a leader in areas like childhood immunizations and smoking cessation — as well as sleuth out the then-unknown source of mosquito borne illnesses, add color to a field that can sometimes seen as impersonal.

Dr. E. Charlton Prather (left) and Willard Galbreath, MPH (right), director of the Environmental Health Program of the Broward County Health Department, where Galbreath served for 42 years.

Dr. E. Charlton Prather (left) and Willard Galbreath, MPH (right), director of the Environmental Health Program of the Broward County Health Department, where Galbreath served for 42 years.

Important lessons from an era when basic health was taken for granted ring true in a time of declining vaccination rates. In telling the story of polio sweeping through his Boy Scout camp, Dr. Mahan notes:

“My tent mate died of polio and I was in quarantine for a full month.”

 

The Florida Public Health Oral History Project interviews are currently available in audio form on the USF Libraries website. Transcripts are being added as they become available. Future aims of this project include adding the video of the interviews, completing a second phase of additional oral history interviews, as well as funding a graduate student to curate a digital exhibition with this collection.

Click here to explore the Florida Public Health Oral History Project.

To support this important initiative, please contact the USF Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 or email bmarks@usf.edu.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

You might think that when a USF alumnus returns to campus after an extended absence, the first thing they would notice would be all the new buildings, mature landscaping, elegant signage, and traffic improvements. But for Mitchell Katine, it was the familiar, unchanged elements that repeatedly drew his attention. “I was focused on the memories and the feelings of being back on campus – remembering my time as a student at USF. For example, when I was walking to the Beta dorms, I saw the exact door I used to see so often while standing in line for the cafeteria. I used to hang out with friends at the quad over there. Even the University Center (now the Marshall Student Center) and it’s Wednesday market are still there, though they have certainly grown.”

USF in 1979 was a far cry from the modern, scenic, tree-lined campus we know today: an unfinished Business Administration building is visible in the foreground, and the then-new library is to the left. (Image from USF Libraries Special Collections)

USF in 1979 was a far cry from the modern, scenic, tree-lined campus we know today: the Business Administration building is under construction in the foreground, and the then-new library is to the left. (Image from USF Libraries Special Collections)

Mitchell Katine graduated from USF in 1982 and moved to Texas for law school. After an initial career in real estate law, he found himself representing John Lawrence and Tyron Garner along the route to their eventual victory in the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. He has since built a prestigious career as a human rights attorney, fighting for some of society’s most marginalized citizens. On October 30th, he returned to USF to speak on legal gains for the LGBT community at the USF Libraries’ 2014 signature event for its growing LGBT Initiative. It was immediately apparent USF has come a long way from the commuter school that met essential academic needs in 1982. Of USF’s focus on diversity, sustainability, and innovation, Mr. Katine says, “I would consider USF back then, very much a university in development. Now, it’s a mature, successful, sought-after destination, with progressive achievements like the Library’s work in LGBT history.”

Mitchell Katine speaks to a rapt crowd as part of the USF Libraries "Gay Landslide" event in October

Mitchell Katine speaks to a rapt crowd as part of the USF Libraries “Gay Landslide” event in October.

While an undergrad, Katine was involved in seemingly everything on campus: student government and organizations, his job in the University Center — he was also one of the founding USF Ambassadors. Delighted to see how the program has flourished, he got to meet with some of the current USF Ambassadors at last week’s event.

2014 USF Ambassadors Marisol Torres, Martin Copello, Alberto Peralta, and Abraham Pineda with USF Ambassador Alumnus Mitchell Katine, center

2014 USF Ambassadors Marisol Torres, Martin Copello, Alberto Peralta, and Abraham Pineda with founding USF Ambassador Mitchell Katine, center

His undergraduate-era job at the University Center brought Mitchell Katine together with two people who are still dear friends and who attended October’s USF Libraries event – Sandi and Mike Conway. Sandi fondly recalls her time working with Mitchell. “He was just one of those incredibly impressive young whipper-snappers. He got things done, and was incredibly smart. Fun, too. I shouldn’t tell you this, but during our breaks, we used to practice our disco moves!”

Sandi Conway, Mitchell Katine, and Mike Conway, at the USF Libraries 2014 signature event for it's LGBT Initiative

Sandi Conway, Mitchell Katine, and Mike Conway, at the USF Libraries 2014 signature event for it’s LGBT Initiative

Mr. Katine has fond memories of the USF Tampa Library and is a donor to the USF Libraries LGBT Initiative. Of the library’s transformation to what it is today, he says, “The USF Library used to be a place where you came, did your work, and went back to your dorm or went home. Now, it’s this welcoming, comfortable place that is a hub of student life.” One of his donations, a  collection of framed and signed documents relating to the Lawrence v. Texas US Supreme Court victory, will even be on display in the Special Collections department on the library’s fourth floor.

Get involved and make your own contribution to the USF Tampa Library’s groundbreaking initiatives. Contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433.

Setting the Stage for The Best Student Work Ever

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Setting the Stage for The Best Student Work Ever

Have you seen the library’s first floor lately? The first thing you’ll notice is an entirely new look, but the improvements are not just cosmetic. Renovations performed over the summer added a substantial number of seats in students’ favorite study spots, lots of additional outlets for them to plug in their laptops, phones, and tablets, and an entirely new Digital Media Commons where students can design websites, produce videos, or create multimedia projects for their class assignments.

USF Library Services Desk - Image Aimee Blodgett/USF
An all-new Library Services Desk efficiently connects students, faculty, and staff with materials, answers to their questions, and reference help.
Learning Commons USF Library - Image Aimee Blodgett/USF
The study hub of USF, the Library’s Learning Commons, comfortably accommodates individual and group study with new electrical, furniture, and acoustical upgrades.
USF Library Digital Media Commons - Image Aimee Blodgett/USF
USF Library Digital Media Commons staff welcome students to the high-tech workspace.

USF senior accounting major Daiana Torres finds the renovation of the first floor makes academic life better. “The renovation of the first floor has improved studying in every aspect. It is easier to find a place to plug in now, easier to find a place to sit — studying altogether on the first floor is just easier since the renovation!”

In addition to upgrading the essential study environment for USF students, the experiment-turned-wildly-popular-resource formerly called the Digital Learning Studio (DLS) has been reborn on the first floor as the Digital Media Commons. A thoughtful design has given students ‘pods’ of high end workstations where they have the software, processing power, and monitors to pursue multimedia projects for their class assignments and research projects. They have the space to work individually or in groups.

USF President Judy Genshaft has said that one in five USF students are the first ones from their families to go to college, so having access to this often-costly technology and expertise can make a significant difference. The Digital Media Commons (DMC) not only provides computer workstations for students, but also student employees, with a range of software skills, who are on hand to provide assistance to students.

Armeen Kazim and Evan Bednar

Armeen Kazim and Evan Bednar

Armeen Kazim and Evan Bednar are two of those highly skilled students that work in the DMC assisting their peers. Armeen, a junior mass communications and public relations major, was overjoyed to learn of the DMC’s expansion. “I would always pass by the DLS when it was on the second floor… I had many projects that involved making a poster or editing a video, so I was so excited to use the facility once I found out it was available to students. Now, with this new DMC, word of mouth is really hot among students, and even professors are asking for multimedia class projects. It’s a whole new way of learning — and we learn better this way.”

Nick Lovera

Nick Lovera

Junior mass communications major Nick Lovera says, “I think it’s awesome. We were working on our projects in class today and I was able to come over here and keep working. The DMC gives you space and resources to do your work. It’s a nice place; it really works out well.”

The Library touches the lives of all USF students. You, too, can make a difference. To discuss making a gift to the library, contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433.

USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership

Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership

As a pioneering woman leader, Betty Castor can tell stories that would make women entering the workforce today blanch. Not yet a state senator, in 1974 County Commissioner Castor was ejected from a lunch meeting with HUD officials and the yet-to-arrive Mayor Dick Greco at members-only business dining room the University Club. The reason? She was a woman. Castor handled the incident with extraordinary grace and composure and called her friends in the news media once she got to the hot dog cart down at street level. The incident made significant headlines, even drawing acclaimed journalist Calvin Trillin to Tampa to write about it .

Castor was not intimidated by the treatment she received. She went on to represent her district in, then become President Pro Tempore of, the Florida Senate; was elected the Florida Commissioner of Education; and was the first woman President of the University of South Florida, presiding over a period of great change and progress. This is to say nothing of her years enthusiastically teaching children in Uganda (and leading a group of girls to the summit of Kilimanjaro, without male accompaniment), raising a few of the next generation of respected legislators, and holding the presidency of the League of Women Voters.

Betty Castor reviews a list of prime sponsored bills in the Florida Sentate with project archivist Stacy Dolan

Betty Castor reviews a list of prime sponsored bills in the Florida Sentate with project curator Stacy Dolan

As part of the growing USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative, the documents, photos, videos, and other materials that illustrate Betty Castor’s career are just one of several collections in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections Department that tell the story of accomplished women leaders and the challenges they have overcome. This initiative brings together the personal papers, public office archives, and oral histories of Florida’s women leaders, including Tampa City Council Member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt, Florida First Lady Mary Jane Martinez, and Tampa City Council Member Linda Saul Sena.

Betty Castor understood the centrality of the USF Library from the moment she became USF’s president in 1994. And today Castor sees the big-picture relevance. She says, ”It is the central resource for the University and represents the intellectual capacity of a place… I am particularly proud of Special Collections, because I’m intensely interested in the history of Florida and change in Florida, and they have stepped forward to make the Florida Studies Initiative a priority.”

An exceptional recent USF graduate has been chosen to work on the Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative: Stacy Dolan graduated Summa Cum Laude in Spring of 2014 with a major in political science and a minor in philosophy. Her honors college thesis focused on women’s and LGBT political activism, and she knows something about leadership, as a past president of College Democrats at USF. When asked why this project is important to her, she says, “We today see many women becoming increasingly aware of their place in politics, what it means to be a woman in politics, and what it means to be a woman outside of politics. This project is incredibly important because without understanding where we’ve come from, we will never understand how to move forward.”

Why has Castor chosen to give in support of the USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership project? Her gift comes at a moment in time when telling the history of Florida accurately, and illustrating women’s increasing role in public governance is pivotal. “Let’s not lose the opportunity to capture this recent past. Here we have an institution with the capacity to do it. I like the idea of organizing it through the library because you can connect to all of the other things happening. I hope that in my own personal stepping forward and trying to build some understanding of the role of women as they enter the public arena, we can provide an incentive for others to do so.”

Make history. Make a financial gift in support of the USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative. Contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 .

USF Libraries Nurture Inquisitive Undergraduate Minds

Friday, June 13th, 2014 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | 2 Comments »

University of South Florida students are capable of great things. But occasionally, an ambitious young student will demonstrate such mastery of the research process, and pursue their academic and career goals with such focus, as to bedazzle those around him or her. It is this passionate undergraduate scholar that the Best Use of Library Resources award seeks to find each year. The scholarship was established by a generous donation from the USF Tampa Library’s Director of Academic Services, Nancy Cunningham, to be awarded to a student participating in the Office for Undergraduate Research’s (OUR) annual Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium.

 

“Both of these young men have extraordinary skills as researchers and,
as a donor, it is an honor to contribute to the advancement of their education
through this scholarship award.”

-Donor and USF Libraries Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham

 

Bryan MacNeill and Anthony Cilluffo, winners of the Best Use of Library Resources award

Bryan MacNeill and Anthony Cilluffo, winners of the Best Use of Library Resources award

This year, two promising young students shared the award. Anthony Cilluffo had established his passion for the research process and the library, having worked as a USF Library GURU this year. A political science and economics major, minoring in math, Anthony will temporarily leave the USF Tampa Campus (and his family in Pasco County) for the 2014-2015 academic year in order to participate in the London School of Economics’ (LSE) vaunted General Course, a program once attended by a young JFK.

Cilluffo’s award-winning research project was a historiographical analysis of the role that various government entities have played in the incentivization of several downtown Tampa entertainment projects. He sees it as a step toward becoming a macroeconomist, with the intention of entering public service as a policy analyst promoting effective and efficient government policies.

Anthony’s research project is entitled, Entertaining Government: A Case Study of the Role of Government in the Tampa Entertainment Industry. Of receiving the award, Anthony says,

Working in the library has been an incredible opportunity for me. I get to be surrounded by research everyday, and to spread my interest and experience in conducting research to others that need help. I am also surrounded by people that share the same passion for helping others with research. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas about how to make searches in the catalog and databases better from working with the librarians. Receiving an award from the place that has taught me so much is very fulfilling and encouraging, and will help propel me forward toward my next research project. In a more pragmatic sense, the library award is a great external affirmation of my growing research abilities that I hope will aid me when I approach faculty at LSE about assisting them in their research when I am there.

USF System President Judy Genshaft, USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and donor Nancy Cunningham, award recipient Anthony Cilluffo, and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Bob Sullins

USF System President Judy Genshaft, USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and donor Nancy Cunningham, award recipient Anthony Cilluffo, and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Bob Sullins

 

Bryan MacNeill’s enthusiasm for scientific research is evident the moment you meet him. Ask him about his research and you will be rewarded with a rich depiction of the forces influencing the ecosystems he studies. Bryan, originally from Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, is majoring in integrative animal biology. His project sought to understand whether differences in freshwater inflow could be responsible for an increased rate of parasitism in the species investigated. This kind of research has significant implications for estuarine and river health assessments. Bryan points out that, “By looking at two seemingly insignificant species, we can assess with ease whether a river system is in need of management or not.”

MacNeill hopes to publish his project, entitled Can River Flow Mechanics Drive Variation in Parasitism of Anchovies by Isopods? in an academic journal. He intends to pursue a doctorate in ecology, with which he aims to conduct research and to teach. Bryan also plans to work as a USF Libraries GURU in coming semesters, so that he can help other students make the most of the universe of resources that the library provides. Of receiving the award, Bryan says,

This award is very important, and holds a bit of sentimentality to me. One thing that has always inspired me is the human drive to know and learn more. There was recently a kid in the news who had discovered a new way to test for a certain cancer that would only cost about $5, whereas previously it had cost thousands. When he was asked what his greatest issue was during his research, he said it was the amount of money he had to spend looking through academic papers and journals, many of which have expensive subscriptions. 

USF System President Judy Genshaft, USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and donor Nancy Cunningham, award recipient Bryan MacNeill, and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Bob Sullins

USF System President Judy Genshaft, USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and donor Nancy Cunningham, award recipient Bryan MacNeill, and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Bob Sullins

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 do student employees contribute to the USF Libraries?

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on What do student employees contribute to the USF Libraries?

The students who work in the USF Libraries make an invaluable contribution to the success of their fellow students and library initiatives as a whole. Many essential library functions are performed by our student workers who, in return, receive not only remuneration but on-the-job training and proximity to library resources that can benefit their academic outcomes.

In an effort to let these students know how important they are, the USF Libraries recently held a reception to thank the graduating students for their time with us, and catch up with returning students. It was nothing short of thrilling for Library faculty and staff to learn about the attending graduates’ plans for the near future:

Graduating students and their supervisors (L-R): Instructional Technologist/Blended Librarian Adonis Amparo with graduate Chase Starr, graduate Will Clark with Coordinator of Digital Initiatives & Services Barbara Lewis, Access Services Manager Scott Ryan, Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham with graduate Porsha Lark, Dean of the USF Libraries Bill Garrison, graduate Charniece Williams, graduate Thuy Luong, FMHI Associate University Librarian Tomaro Taylor

Graduating students and their supervisors (L-R): Instructional Technologist/Blended Librarian Adonis Amparo with graduate Chase Starr, graduate Will Clark with Coordinator of Digital Initiatives & Services Barbara Lewis, Access Services Manager Scott Ryan, Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham with graduate Porsha Lark, Dean of the USF Libraries Bill Garrison, graduate Charniece Williams, graduate Thuy Luong, FMHI Associate University Librarian Tomaro Taylor, Library Assistant Ginny Gates-Fowler, Director of Development Merrell Dickey

Charniece Williams worked with Tomaro Taylor at the Tampa campus Florida Mental Health Institute Library. She graduated this spring from USF with a degree in accounting and finance and will continue her education in the Masters of Accountancy Program at USF this fall. In addition to her academic successes, she is a mother to three year old Maleek.

Of her time at the FMHI Library, Charniece says, “I loved working at the FMHI Library. I gained lots of skills by helping with student questions as well as how to operate the different research databases and different tools. Every coworker was so kind and supportive. It was truly a great experience and I am sad to go.”

Porsha Lark worked in a variety of functions at the USF Tampa Library, from acquiring and managing collections to a role in Interlibrary Loan. She graduated last week with majors in public health and health sciences, and a minor in women’s and gender studies. She was accepted to begin a master’s in public health this fall at Columbia University in New York.

Of her tenure in the USF Tampa Library, Porsha says, “Since January 2010 I have been working at the library and I have learned how to work with different people on a more professional level. I am truly grateful for the experience because it gave me the opportunity to learn how to balance work and school which helped me to develop into a well rounded person. I would like to thank Jessi Hurd for training me when I first began, Angela Harden for ensuring that I was using my strengths to help others, and LeEtta Schmidt for believing that I could handle a position in the Interlibrary Loan Department. Each of these women have added tremendously to my growth at USF and without this library I do not think I would be where I am today.”

Chase Starr was one of the Digital Learning Studio’s student experts, on staff to instruct students in the use of multimedia software. He was accepted to the digital arts program at the University of California at Santa Barbara and offered a graduate assistantship to begin this fall. However, when the school flew Chase out to explore the program, he decided to pursue a program with a more technical and commercial focus. This fall, he will be working for the Museum of Science and Industry near USF and deciding which California digital arts program he will attend the following fall.

Thuy Luong worked initially with stacks but her outstanding customer service, when asked to fill in at the front desk one day, led to her working on the front lines. She graduated this May with a degree in Public Health and will be applying for masters in occupational therapy programs in the northeast.

Thuy says of her experience at the USF Tampa Library, “The library has benefitted me by allowing me the opportunity to teach other students as well as learn to use library systems better.”

Will Clark graduated with a degree in sociology and mass communications this May. He will begin the media studies graduate program at USF this fall and looks forward to continuing his work in the USF Tampa Library. He feels his work with the USF Library’s digital collections is personally satisfying and positively impacts on the community in Tampa Bay and around the country.

Will says, “I hope to become a professor here in the Tampa Bay area after graduation. If all my dreams come true, I’ll be teaching mass communication and society here at USF.”

Students who work at the USF Tampa Library receive professional mentoring and guidance during their academic careers. How can you help create more bright USF graduates like these? Your financial contribution to the USF Libraries helps ensure worthwhile positions for student work. Contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 to give.

Sharing Library Treasures with the World via Digital Collections

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Sharing Library Treasures with the World via Digital Collections

Have you explored USF Libraries Digital Collections lately? If you have, you know these materials are usually primary source items from Special Collections and often of historic or international relevance. They are found in searchable collections on our website, and some have been curated into online exhibitions that walk you through a contextual narrative.

7th Avenue in Ybor City, Burgert Brothers

7th Avenue in Ybor City, Burgert Brothers

The USF Libraries hold digital collections on a universe of topics, ranging from the locally-famous and indispensable Burgert Brothers photographs, to the riveting Waging Peace Darfuri Children’s Drawings, to the iconic images painted by Jacques LeMoyne de Morgues upon first European contact with Florida’s native Americans, engraved and printed by Theodor de Bry. Online exhibitions weave selected digital collections into historical contexts, thereby enhancing their meaning. The History of Minstrelsy and 500 Years of Discovering Florida were produced by students mentored by Special Collections librarian Andy Huse. The Art of the Poison Pens online exhibition was created in conjunction with an exhibition and event at the Tampa Museum of Art, and showcases the political cartoon collection of Dr. Charles Mahan. And Portraying Courage is the result of an extensive collaborative project telling Holocaust survivors’ stories in their own words, through oral histories, and through professionally-painted portraits.

Adela Gonzmart with Cesar, Casey and Richard at the piano

Adela Gonzmart with Cesar, Casey and Richard at the piano

The legacies of several families whose histories are part of the very fabric of Tampa and Florida history are housed at the USF Tampa Library as well, not only tucked away in Special Collections but increasingly made available for all to enjoy and learn from as digital collections. One of the most notable among these is the Columbia Restaurant/Gonzmart Family Collection (view photos from the collection or introduction), which depicts the history of the Hernandez and Gonzmart families and their original Columbia Restaurant, emblematic of Tampa’s Ybor City. Richard Gonzmart wasn’t certain how valuable his family’s photos would be as a digital collection but he says, “…without a doubt, it’s now preserved for generations to view and enjoy that history.” What local historians may consider a gem “…most likely would have been thrown away,” according to Gonzmart. The Gonzmarts’ reverence for local history now continues with the native-inspired menu at their new restaurant Ulele, opening soon along downtown Tampa’s waterfront.

The Francis J. Thompson collection includes a fascinating examination of a period of Irish history done as his doctoral dissertation, along with a host of other authoritative scholarly work donated by the family of the professor of Irish literature and novelist. The 1300-plus-page dissertation, “Fenianism and the Celtic Renaissance,” which would require a tremendous effort to study in person in Special Collections, can now be read online, and by multiple researchers or family members at the same time.

How do these fragile, often one-of-a-kind materials get from the safety of Special Collections to a digitized format and then onto the USF Libraries website? The labor intensive process includes more steps than you might imagine, with both expert librarians and student library employees contributing to various steps of quality assurance, scanning, correction, and cataloging. The organization and display of these collections on our website recently moved from a software solution in-house developer Richard Bernardy devised to an open-source solution developed in tandem with the University of Florida. The new website allows for greater browsing freedom, as it functions well on mobile devices and tablets.

Some might worry that presenting these collections online would lead to reduced in-person visits to Special Collections. In the case of the USF Libraries, at least it has been the opposite, with numerous patrons initially discovering collections online and then coming in person to use the physical collections.

Partner with us to bring treasures to scholars, families, and lifelong learners around the world. Contact the USF Libraries Development office here to contribute or by calling (813) 974-4433 .

 

Tampa’s Rebels and Revolutionaries: Looking Beyond the Gangsters and Pirates

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | 1 Comment »

Tampa is well-known for it’s sordid past of gangsters and (apparently nonexistent*) pirates. But it’s the lesser known rebels and misfits that comprise Tampa’s most colorful history.

andy-huseUSF Special Collections Librarian Andy Huse recently shared his expertise on these characters in a funny, sometimes sad, and always fascinating talk entitled, ”Tampa’s Rebels and Revolutionaries: Looking Beyond the Gangsters and Pirates.” The USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections department holds these Florida Studies collections that form the basis for these stories.

“A lot of revolutionaries tended to coalesce around Tampa, for whatever reason.” -Andy Huse, USF Special Collections Librarian

Sanfeliz with S.P. BurgertJosé Ramón Sanfeliz arrived in Ybor City from Cuba and began a career as a cigar worker — but was a revolutionary firebrand in his desire to take down management and to organize labor. Later, during the cigar workers’ Weight Strike of 1899, he returned to Cuba only to find it was far too difficult a life compared to the relatively middle-class comforts of his life in Tampa. He returned to Tampa and the once-leftist activist became ever more part of the establishment, even giving his incredible collection of hobby photographs to reactionary three-term Tampa mayor, violent strike-breaker, and local businessman D.B. McKay. His photographs of striking cigar workers’ soup kitchens remain the most vibrant images of that period of Tampa’s history.

Dr. Marcelino Arguelles was a Tampa physician who broke with his contemporaries in endorsing a medicine-free approach to health. His large clinic included a hydrotherapy bathhouse, offered massage, and housed a vegetarian restaurant, which was unheard-of at the time. Some might even say Arguelles was ahead of his time in decrying the ill effects of processed foods. His list of no-nos sounds like a contemporary nutrition article, advising patients  to avoid refined sugar, flours, and the like. By all evidence, he had enough adherents to be successful, with over 25 years in practice in an office occupying a three-story building in Ybor City.

avellanalJosé Luis Avellanal y Jimenez was the son of Concepción Jimenez and Dr. José Ramon Avellanal, a prominent Ybor City physician, co-founder of La Gaceta, and director of the Centro Español mutual aid society. Avellanal the younger began a lifetime of dangerous scientific and mystical-occult experimentation by shooting one childhood friend in the eye and testing out a homemade electric chair on another. From there, his antics only escalated, and he was eventually sent to military school in Georgia. Once he returned to Ybor City, he began a diploma mill, operated as a gynecologist with absolutely no medical training, continued as an  incorrigible ladies’ man who even pioneered consent forms for his romantic relations, and eventually had the title ‘General’ added to his name while he was in Mexico.

jimfairJim Fair was born into a wealthy Tampa family but gave up a life of luxury for one of outspoken political scrutiny and informal philanthropy through his non-discriminatory Salvation Navy for the needy, his truly open-door policy when he was somehow elected Supervisor of Elections, and his penchant for making powerful enemies as a semi-famous local gadfly. Eventually a judge sent to Fair away to the Florida State Hospital mental institution in Chattahoochee in a judgment that has, several times, been characterized as indefensible.

Frederick Weightnovel told people he met that he came from Russia, escaping a tsarist gulag by swimming across an icy river… before coming to Tampa. He also told everyone that he was a doctor, yet had no degrees to show for it. He went before the Florida medical board and they saw no reason to give him a license, however he harangued them until they eventually did so. His medical practice’s records and ledger would surely have held secrets capable of destroying Tampa society. In addition to treating rheumatism and female complaints of well-to-do Tampa residents (sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and the like), Weightnovel sold hair tonic on the side, his thick, curly locks and a full beard acting as a walking billboard for ample hair growth. Huse recounts:

 “He would lay on his back in the surf and float like an otter. He would have a cigarette and a newspaper and a plate of oysters perched on his chest. He would float and read the paper and slurp his oysters. When he got out of the water, he would shake out his ample locks and make a spectacle that way. But that was just the beginning…”

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 1.16.31 PMFrederick Weightnovel ended up squatting in old Fort Brooke after it was decommissioned and the Seminoles were no longer  a threat. The City tried but was not able to evict him and his associates. Ultimately, in a defiant gesture, the squatters elected Weightnovel mayor of Ft Brooke, which he renamed ‘Moscow’ and attempted to operate as a secessionist state.

Weightnovel ended up orchestrating several other controversies, to which the aforementioned pale in comparison. Hear these scandalous tales in the encore presentation of the talk, which is available for viewing on YouTube.

There are many ways to further the cultural legacy of Florida Studies at the USF Tampa Library. Your contribution increases research and educational opportunities using these unique and invaluable historical treasures. Contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 to make a financial commitment to the USF Libraries.

* There is no evidence that Jose Gaspar existed, and in fact his story appears to be a legend created specifically to spur tourism and support the Gasparilla parade and event. Sorry.

 

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