Saying Goodbye… and Hello

On behalf of myself, the faculty and staff of the library, I want to express my gratitude to Dean Carol Hixson for her excellent leadership these past five plus years. Carol is fond of saying that Poynter Library is “not your Grandmother’s library.” Under her direction, the staff have moved the library into the 21st century, doing so with vision, collaboration, and lots of hard work. In her last blog entry as Dean, she has highlighted several of the successful accomplishments.

In bringing her expertise to USFSP and leading the creation and growth of the USFSP Digital Archive, she provided many of us with a new and very exciting opportunity to expand our skills while providing a suite of valuable Archive services to the faculty, students and administration. Other ventures enabled the members of the library’s various departments to develop and enhance talents and to improve services and communication with the USFSP community. Carol’s vision encouraged the expansion of the Library’s events and programs, including faculty and student research lectures and multicultural events that benefited the entire community. At a time when electronic resources can reduce the number of physical visits to a library, our spaces are hopping! The individual and collaborative study and work spaces are continually busy throughout the year.Student Presentation

Dean Hixson quickly recognized the dedication, creativity, and passion of the library faculty and staff and worked hard to support scholarly activities and professional development opportunities for all. She gave us wide latitude to study, explore, test, and implement so many ideas to keep the library, its resources, and its spaces vibrant and attractive to our community of users. Most importantly, Carol also allowed us to “fail”, learn, and move on to better ideas.

Carol’s dedication to her profession, to higher education in general, and the role libraries can and should play in the academic environment is a model to us all. She leaves USFSP a much richer place for having served here. Personally, I wish to express my admiration for her and my thanks for all the encouragement I have personally received. While the library is sad to lose her, we wish her the very best in her new position as Dean of the Libraries at Florida Atlantic University.

 

Deb Henry
Interim Dean

Adios!

This is my final message as Dean of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library. I came to USF St. Petersburg in August 2009 to take over leadership of the Poynter Library. In the past five and a half years, we have transformed the physical and virtual space of the Library and have redefined the services we provide to the students and faculty of USFSP. We did this strategically, working closely with the students and with colleagues across the University to be sure we were anticipating and meeting their changing needs. We did this collegially, involving all library faculty and staff, valuing every individual’s contributions, celebrating each individual and group success. I am proud of every member of the Poynter Library family and what we have accomplished together.

In the last five and a half years, we have:

• built a welcoming, attractive, and highly functional space centered around students on the first floor of the Library and we have been gradually expanding the redesign to the second and third floors.
Students studying 2014
• developed a new service model that takes advantage of the skill and expertise of our front-line employees to help library users with their basic service needs and that calls in a reference librarian when there is the need for more in-depth research assistance.
Librarian helping student with research
• built the USFSP Digital Archive where we showcase the work of our faculty and our students and also store the institutional memory of USFSP.
• developed traditions for students like the Annual Halloween Costume Contest, Halloween contest the Annual Reception for New Graduate Students, the visits twice a semester from Therapy Dogs International, the Student Research Colloquium, and much more.
• engaged with the broader community through events and lectures, like the recent Living Books event in November 2014.
• expanded access to technology and online resources through the purchase of more laptops, the installation of open-use computers on every floor, the acquisition of collaboration workstations on the first and second floors, and the upgrade of our group study rooms.Collaboration station
• developed online modules for many basic library and information literacy needs so that students can learn how to carry out research, cite an article, avoid plagiarism, and much more when it’s convenient for them 24/7 and at their own pace.
• developed a robust professional development environment for faculty teaching online courses through the Online Learning and Instructional Technology Services department.
• And much more.

I now turn the reins over to Interim Dean of Library Deborah Henry.Carol Hixson and Deb Henry Deb has been a member of the Poynter Library faculty since 1988 and is well known and highly regarded across the campus and the state. She knows the ins and outs of the Poynter Library and USFSP and has been actively involved in planning for and making many of the recent changes happen. She is a thought leader who has always gone the extra mile in providing outstanding library service. For those of you who already know her, you will be happy to work with her in this new role. For those who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Interim Dean Henry, you will be delighted to get to know her and work with her.

Adios, muchachos y muchachas! It has been a blast. My new position is that of Dean of University Libraries at Florida Atlantic University, starting in August. Anyone wanting to reach me there, can send an email with my last name @fau.edu

Best wishes,

Carol Hixson

National Library Workers’ Day: April 14, 2015

April 14 is National Library Workers’ Day, celebrated on the Tuesday of National Library Week for the last fifteen years.

This year, the American Library Association has created a moderated blog where anyone can write in to celebrate a library star – someone who has gone above and beyond to provide outstanding service, to inspire others, to connect people with each other and with the information they need to be successful. Because I work with an amazing group of people, I decided to nominate the entire faculty and staff of the Poynter Library by saying this:

Poynter Library Faculty and Staff from an academic library in St. Petersburg, FL, is a Star because the entire faculty and staff of the Poynter Library of USFSP have put the students of the university at the heart of everything they do. They bring energy, creativity, vision and dedication to the job every day, inspiring each other and the rest of the campus with their accomplishments and work ethic. The Poynter Library has a reputation on campus as being THE place to work because the people celebrate each other’s successes and support one another through the tough times. Together, this group has transformed the library into the true intellectual hub of the campus, showing the students, faculty, and administration just what a group of smart, creative people can accomplish when they have a shared vision.

Photo by Chris Campbell (cropped) (Photo by Chris Campbell, cropped)

If a librarian or library worker here or anywhere has inspired you, write in to the blog at http://ala-apa.org/nlwd/ and tell the world.

SHARE and Access to Research

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) have partnered to develop an initiative to ensure the preservation of, access to, and reuse of research. Called SHARE (SHared Access Research Ecosystem), the initiative is intended to “develop solutions that capitalize on the compelling interest shared by researchers, libraries, universities, funding agencies, and other key stakeholders to maximize research impact, today and in the future. SHARE aims to make the inventory of research assets more discoverable and more accessible, and to enable the research community to build upon these assets in creative and productive ways.” SHARE’s goal is to be a mechanism to increase open access to research data and to publications resulting from that research.

SHARE developed partially in response to the Obama administration’s February 2013 Policy Memorandum that called upon federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with free and unlimited online access to the results of that research, including access to research data. With the federal government funding of billions of dollars in scientific research each year, there is a growing expectation that the results of this federally funded research will be openly and freely available to other researchers and to the general public in a timely manner in order to advance science and accelerate innovation, as well as lead to medical breakthroughs.

With the University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s renewed commitment to research, as articulated in the new Vision 20/20 strategic plan, it is critically important for USFSP’s faculty researchers to stay informed about all aspects of the open access movement and to understand their rights and responsibilities, especially if their research is funded by federal grant money. Through the USFSP Digital Archive, as well as through the research project being conducted on the management of research data at USFSP, the Library is positioned to assist College faculty in complying with federal funding guidelines.

To read more about the SHARE initiative, check out the Share Knowledge Base blog.

To learn more about the USFSP Digital Archive and how we are working in concert with SHARE and other international initiative on open access, contact me at hixson at usfsp.edu or the Digital Collections Team at digcol at nelson.usf.edu

Diversity and Inclusion at Our Core

On November 12, 2010, I posted a message on my Dean’s Messages web site on the topic of diversity. The message addressed one of the sculpted bronze hands embedded in the walls of the Poynter Library. One of those sculptures extols the value of DIVERSITY. I originally wrote about diversity as a response to a student who had contacted me wanting to know why we had hosted an exhibit on Black History but hadn’t done an exhibit on Irish Heritage Month. In the summer of 2013, I again addressed the issue when a student wrote to President Genshaft complaining about what she considered pornography in the Library because we were advertising a talk on the 1964 Florida Legislative Investigative Committee’s Report on “Homosexuality and citizenship in Florida” by using an image from the state government document showing two bare-chested men kissing.

These concerns from USFSP students, along with recent incidents in our community and around the country, make it clear that the topic merits much more discussion. For that reason, I am reposting my original message, with some additions.

The KKK incident in the City of St. Petersburg’s Stormwater Department that happened in October 2013 but was reported on by the Tampa Bay Times on August 16, 2014 is one indication of how close to the surface tensions around diversity really are. The August 9, 2014 shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent reactions in that community and around the world have highlighted our need for closer self-examination and renewed commitment to a diverse, inclusive society. The ongoing battle in the courts about same-sex marriage is another manifestation of how divided we as a people are regarding diversity and inclusion. There are countless examples from around the country and the world of people wanting to be included in all the benefits enjoyed by others and accepted as they are and sometimes negative reactions from other members of society.

What is diversity and why do we consider it one of the core values of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the Poynter Library? Diversity in the U.S. has often been a political hot-button, serving to divide rather than unite us. One of the definitions given in the Oxford English Dictionary is “a point of unlikeness; a difference, distinction; a different kind, a variety.” One simple definition, then, is variety in who we are and how we live.

Wikipedia lists many kinds of diversity, including political diversity, ethnic diversity, diversity training, biodiversity and more. Under political diversity, Wikipedia asserts that the term is used “to describe differences in racial or ethnic classifications, age, gender, religion, philosophy, physical abilities, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, intelligence, mental health, physical health, genetic attributes, behavior, attractiveness, cultural values, or political view as well as other identifying features.”

In its statement on diversity in its mission and vision, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg asserts its “dedication to the diversity of human beings as well as diversity of ideas and viewpoints.” Respect and tolerance for different backgrounds, different abilities, different physical characteristics, different points of view, and different modes of self-expression are the cornerstones of our university. By accepting our right to be different and to be uniquely ourselves, we are able to call on a wider array of resources as we face new challenges. In diversity, we are strong.

We in the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library support and celebrate the diversity of our students and faculty, the university, our local community, and the world around us. Libraries actively strive to present multiple points of view. This is a principle that is well defined within the North American library community, as outlined by the American Library Association in the Library Bill of Rights. To this end, we will continue to host a wide variety of lectures and debates representing diverse points of view; we will continue to mount exhibitions on wide-ranging topics such as military history, Black history, Gay pride, Native American identity, Jewish culture, the Holocaust, Women’s History and more; we will continue to develop collections of materials that reflect a full range of viewpoints on important topics in support of the University’s courses and programs; we will continue to strive to serve all of our students in the ways that they need, such as our services to students with special needs through improving our Assistive Technologies Room and more.

The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library is a safe haven for all people and ideas. Come to the library (physically or virtually) where we will strive to make you feel safe to ask questions and explore the world around you, value you for who you are, and encourage you in your journey of self-discovery, self-expression and lifelong learning.

The Library this year will be developing a formalized diversity program. As we proceed, we will be inviting members of the campus and the broader community to take part and share experiences and insights. Drop me a note at hixson at usfsp.edu or call me at 873-4400 if you would like to be part of the discussion.

Tolerance

As I welcome new and returning students to our campus, I thought it would be good to revisit the topic of Tolerance that I first addressed on my website in July 2010.

Tolerance Sculpture

Built into the walls of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, inside and outside, are sculpted bronze hands holding words representing the enduring values of scholarship: tolerance, diversity, wisdom, courage, inspiration, justice, beauty, and truth. These were designed by USF alumnus Robert Calvo, the artist also responsible for the building’s stunning atrium artwork featuring three sculptures representing the great ancient libraries of Alexandria, Nineveh, and Pergamum. (One of those hanging sculptures forms the header of this blog.)

The first value, tolerance, is the foundation for all scholarly endeavors in the modern university. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online defines tolerance as “the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others; freedom from bigotry or undue severity in judging the conduct of others; forbearance; catholicity of spirit.To tolerate is defined by the OED as “To allow to exist or to be done or practiced without authoritative interference or molestation“. Wikipedia defines tolerance as “the ability to accept something while disapproving of it.

The American Association of University Professors’ Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, first adopted in 1940, adheres to the value of tolerance when it states that “Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition.” Academic freedom, based on tolerance, makes it possible for a faculty member to teach a class that a politician may not approve of. It is tolerance within the parameters of academic freedom which makes it possible for students to present a point of view in a class or on a paper that the majority may not agree with and for them to be protected in voicing that opinion. (Academic freedom and tolerance don’t mean that students don’t have to present logical arguments and data to support their point of view in class, however.) Tolerance demands respect for differences: different opinions, different modes of expressions, different appearances, different cultures. Tolerance – respect for differences – does not mean agreement or acquiescence: others are equally free to disagree, respectfully.

The American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, first adopted in 1939, embodies this tolerance for different points of view. In fact, libraries are charged not only to tolerate different points of view but also to champion and fight for them.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

As Dean, I welcome you to the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library where your unique beliefs and opinions will not only be tolerated, but will also be championed. Throughout this academic year, the faculty and staff of the Poynter Library will offer many events, exhibits, and talks that embody these principles.

Welcome to the 2014/2015 academic year!

Resetting NetIDs

Berrie Watson, Head of Systems and Digital Technology of the Poynter Library, has informed me that we have had multiple students ask to have their NetIDs reset recently.

As long as the students answer their challenge questions correctly, we are able to help them with this at the WebExpress units near the front door or the stand-up computer at the Service Desk. However if the student cannot successfully answer their challenge questions, the online reset will not work for them.

When students have then called the USF helpdesk, they have been given the response “Go to the library, they can reset the NetID in person there”.

This is true only in the USF Tampa library. Although the Poynter Library has repeatedly asked for authorization to be able to assist students with this, the Tampa IT group will only trust a designated IT staff member to help with this issue. In Tampa, there is an IT Help Desk located within the Library. There is no such Tampa-approved IT help desk in the Poynter Library.

It is unfortunate that the Poynter Library – which provides the only open-use computing lab for USFSP and has the widest range of hours of availability — is not permitted to perform the service.

Any students who need help resetting their NetIDs following a failure to answer their challenge questions directly must either call USFSP’s Campus Computing (3-help) or the Tampa IT helpdesk at 974-9000. Any questions about this should be directed to Berrie Watson http://lib.usfsp.edu/staff-member/berrie-watson/