Yesterday afternoon, Special Collections Librarian and historian, Jim Schnur, and Elizabeth Southard, USFSP Anthropology Graduate, made a joint presentation entitled Early Footprints in the Sand: Pre-Columbian Settlements Along the Pinellas Peninsula & the Legacies of First Contact that discussed the Manasota, Weedon Island, and Safety Harbor cultures that lived along Florida’s west coast before the arrival of the first Europeans. The presentation, part of which can be viewed in the USFSP Digital Archive at http://dspace.nelson.usf.edu/xmlui/handle/10806/5933, was well attended by students, faculty and other members of the USFSP and wider community.
Schnur provided an overview of important moments of human history for the region, noting that we must rely for much of what we know by studying pottery pieces and stone and shell tools that date from more than 500 years ago.
In the summer of 2011 the Library received a collection of nearly 800 such items donated by W.R. “Butch” Evans (described in the Digital Archive at: http://dspace.nelson.usf.edu/xmlui/handle/10806/4288)
Southard, a recent recipient of the Tampa Bay History Center’s Leland Hawes Prize for papers focusing on Florida history, worked with this collection of artifacts and also participated in field work both locally, at places such as Weedon Island, and in class trips to sites in Africa and elsewhere. Her presentation discussed some of the findings that came from examining the Butch Evans collection and recently collected artifacts.
This joint presentation demonstrated the best of traditional academic library services – putting student and faculty scholars together with the resources they need for their research (regardless of the form those resources take) and helping them put them into a useful context. Even while libraries evolve to meet new needs, the need for such traditional services does not diminish.