News and Events

SLIS Volunteers Earn Moffitt Cancer Center Patient Library Awards and Rewards

Posted on October 30, 2009

SLIS Volunteers Earn Moffitt Cancer Center Patient Library Awards and Rewards Posted on October 30, 2009 by usfslisnews Celebrate Live Strong Day at Moffitt Cancer Center Every OctoberThis month's Moffitt Cancer Center Patient Library and Welcome Center celebration of "Live Strong Day" with partners at the Lance Armstrong Foundation has led to an award and recognition on October 8th and October 26th. First, the reorganized Patient Library and Patient Education professionals, SLIS students, and community volunteers were chosen to receive a check for $1000 dollars and recognition for the best team in their category at Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. Then on Monday, October 26th, representatives Andy Miler and Joyce Reinecke of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) travelled from Austin, Texas, to give Moffitt CEO, Dr. William Dalton, their coveted "Center of Excellence Award."

This ongoing partnership with USF, the USF SLIS and its students, and the Tampa Bay community of volunteers has made Moffitt Cancer Center and its Patient Library an evolving and growing success story.

Click here for the Oracle story

USF SLIS students attend "Fast Track" adult literacy workshop

Posted on October 30, 2009

Gina Bingham-McIntyre and Arlen Bensen (current USF SLIS students) made the trek to Lake County on Friday, October 23, 2009 to learn about a new adult literacy teaching technique developed at Jacksonville Public Library.

Gina Bingham-McIntyre

Fast Track Reading System
Exploring the Relationship Between Sounds & Syllables

The program is called Fast Track Reading System and it was developed at JPL with help from a grant through the Florida Department of State and the State Library and Archives of Florida. This system is aimed primarily at basic reading students, although parts of it appear to have useful applicability in ESOL courses, too. Fast Track II is currently in development to take successful Fast Track students well beyond the basic reading level.

Graduate Assistant Arlen Bensen

Instruction is designed to take place over 26 weeks with about 3 hours per week of face-to-face class time. It centers on syllable division and helps students find patterns in the English language to pierce the randomness that confronts most adults who are learning to read. Syllable division is certainly not anything new, but the way the principles are described is extremely accessible (as opposed to the bewildering consonant-vowel-vowel-consonant-c-v-v-c-c previously employed). The success of Fast Track is measured by the high (80%) retention rate achieved in Jacksonville.

The October 23rd workshop was led by Sharon Jaskula, Literacy Program Manager at the Center for Adult Learning in Jacksonville Public Library. She also spearheaded the development of the program and sits on the board of the workshop's sponsor VALF (Volunteers for Adult Literacy in Florida). The session was held, primarily, so that literacy volunteers teaching in the Lake County Library System might learn this technique. The session was put together by Erika Greene, who coordinates literacy efforts for that system. Not only was she extremely gracious to encourage outside attendees, but she also did a fantastic job managing and supporting the day's activities.

One warning flag for libraries raised by Ms. Jaskula on the 23rd concerns Florida community colleges converting to 4 year schools. As they do so, they relinquish the part of their mission to provide remedial help to students seeking to pass standardized minimum achievement level exams required by the state for studying in higher education. As a result, many of these adults who were formerly served by community colleges are now turning to public libraries as their only source of remedial instruction to make the grade needed on these standardized tests. This encumbers sorely pressed public libraries even further during this economic downturn. Ms. Jaskula says JPL is able to serve about 1,000 students per year in their Center for Adult Learning but that the demand is much greater. She has a significant backlog of students wishing to participate. [Posted by AB]

Sharon Jaskula: (904) 630-0353
Erika Greene: 352-253-6183 or
Visit the wiki for more details...
Florida Literacy Hotline
(800) - 237 - 5113

Community Engagement Institute for Sustainable, Reciprocal Partnerships.

Posted on October 30, 2009

The University of South Florida held "Community Redevelopment", a FL|CC Day Institute that provided faculty and community partners with information and experience in the key components of building sustainable, reciprocal partnerships in service-learning courses. The institute featured lessons learned and examples from East Tampa and other long-term community-engaged projects. Kathleen de la Pe??a McCook attended the Institute.. Implementation of community building programs for libraries has been a focus of the McCook Model.

USF SLIS Graduate Student Catherine Cottle Appointed to ALA RUSA RSS Committee

Posted on October 29, 2009

USF SLIS graduate student Catherine Cottle has been asked to join the ALA RUSA RSS Library Services to An Aging Population Committee.

Catherine formed the West Central Florida Area Agency on Aging/Public Library Partnership for Seniors as part of a class assignment for Dr. Kathleen de la Pena McCook. The partnership includes librarians from five central Florida counties: Patti Lang (Hardee), Mary Myers (Highlands), Victoria Ricketts (Hillsborough), Marion Hayes (Manatee) and Tina Peak (Polk).

Catherine was able to continue the partnership with WCFAAA, TBLC, USF SLIS and Pasco County Library System, who joined with E-government support. Dr. Stephanie Maatta-Smith has acted as advisor to the project. They presented at the FLA Annual Conference this year. The SLIS department made it possible for Catherine to travel to committee meetings at ALA this year. Professor Austin has provided technical support for public service announcements about the partnership. USF SLIS students Julius Fleschner and Virginia Gates-Fowler added their support to the project. The Tampa Bay Library Consortium continues to provide support to the partnership.

"I am really excited about being on the committee, and hope to find ways to share information with library students about library services to an aging population. I hope to travel to Boston for the mid-winter meeting in January".

Public Library Directors Conference

Posted on October 29, 2009

Each fall, The State Library and Archives of Florida hosts a conference for Public Library Directors from all over the state. This year's conference was held on October 8-9 at The Doubletree Hotel in Tallahassee, FL. Directors met to discuss new ideas and tackle common issues faced within the Florida public library community.

Some of this year's primary issues of interest included addressing the benefits and challenges of E-governence, evaluating strategies for internet safety, and coping with budget constraints on library resources. Attendees were invited to share thoughts and ideas in both a small and large group setting, focusing especially on cutting-edge trends within libraries that would allow libarians to better serve individuals from many diverse backgrounds, as well as reach out to individuals within each library's respective community.

Dr. Debra Slone was one of seven active participants in a Public Library Directors' Program Focus Group sponsored by the Florida State Library. The topics included fund-raising and alternative funding, budgeting, marketing, partnerships and strategic planning. She was requested by the state library to research ethics policies of public libraries in Florida and across the U.S.

Graduate Assistant Julius Fleschner at the FACRL 2009 Conference

Posted on October 29, 2009

The Florida Association of College & Research Libraries is having their annual conference this year in Orlando. The event will be held at Rollins College on October 30th from 9am to 4pm. This year's title is "Blurring Boundaries: The Future of Library Cooperation in the 21st Century."

Julius Fleschner, a Graduate Assistant and co-winner of their student scholarship award will be part of a panel discussion. He will speak about iTunesU and the ongoing undergraduate library instruction podcast.

SLIS professor, Derrie Perez will also be in attendance.

USF Alumna Linda Sobey at Florida A&M Law Library

Posted on October 29, 2009

Linda Sobey, a graduate of the USF SLIS program, is Head of Technical Services at the Florida A & M University's College of Law Library. On top of her demanding job, she is also member of several professional organizations, and she is part of the Executive Board of the Florida Association of College and Research Libraries (FACRL.) Florida ACRL's fall program takes place this Friday, October 30th, at Rollins College in Winter Park, with the topic: Blurring Boundaries : The Future of Library Cooperation in the 21st Century. Linda, who has recently been named Treasurer of this association, finds it her biggest challenge this year.

"I encourage all library students to get involved on committees and meet as many people as they can."

Linda Sobey's successful career has met many challenges, but she always had the perseverance to confront them and achieve her goals. Looking back at her career choice, she reflects that:

"Overall, I've enjoyed my work and have met many wonderful people and learned a lot".

Instructor Kiersty Cox & Graduate Assistant Julius Fleschner to Present at FLA

Posted on October 29, 2009

SLIS Instructor Kiersty Cox and Graduate Assistant Julius Fleschner will be presenting at the upcoming AnnualFlorida Library Association conference. Their presentation, "Video Podcasting: An Innovative Way to Instruct Library Customers," will be on April 9th, 2010 from 10:15am to 11:15am.

This year's FLA conference will be held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando from April 7th to the 9th. The theme is one of "Thinking Outside The Book."

For more information about the conference, click here.

Dr. Scott Simon speaks at the 3rd International Music Council World Forum on Music

Posted on October 27, 2009

In October 2009, Dr. Scott Simon attended the 3rd International Music Council World Forum on Music in Tunis, Tunisia. The conference was organized under the title "Access to Musical Diversity."

The International Music Council (IMC) is a global network of expert organizations and individuals working in the field of music. Founded in 1949 by UNESCO, IMC is mandated to promote musical diversity and support cultural rights for all.

Dr. Simon speaking at the IMC World Forum on Music

Dr. Simon was a speaker for a forum titled, "Riding the Digital Tiger." He spoke on the opportunities and challenges libraries face in adapting to digital music collections and services. He also emphasized the role of digital libraries as an access-point to diverse music cultures from around the world. Dr. Simon highlighted examples of digital libraries including the Library of Congress Digital Collections and the UNESCO World Digital Library.

Dr. Henrietta Smith and East Coast Assistant Director Maria Treadwell Hear Illustrator Jerry Pinkney

Posted on October 26, 2009

This article might well be titled, "On the Road Again" On a sunlit Saturday morning, Dr. Henrietta Smith and East Coast Assistant Director, Maria Treadwell journeyed across the state to participate in a program featuring the renowned illustrator, Jerry Pinkney. Illustrator Pinkney is known, nationally and internationally, for his illustrations in books whose theme cover a wide range. Learning that along with Tom Mix, and the Lone Ranger, there were also Black Cowboys, he did a memorable book about Black Cowboys in the West. He also paid tribute to the heroic deeds of John Henry. Aware of many societal problems. he was selected to illustrate Patricia McKissack's, Going Someplace Special, and the Billie Holiday - based God Bless the Child. A most inspiring and handsomely mounted exhibit featured his latest triumph, The Lion and the Mouse, an Aesop Fable. During his presentation he announced that that title had been selected as one of ten of the Best Illustrated Books in the United States for 2009!

An appreciative audience, watched a slide presentation as the artist talked about the many factors that have influenced his work - his parents who supported his interest in art from childhood, as well as meeting with already established artists who encouraged him He spoke of the background work that always preceded the work on any project: research, research, research and visits to sites which would at some time become a part of a story. He showed a picture of his studio in which he remarked, "There is no telephone, no television, no computer, and no people, unless invited" only books and music. Of course one could also see, paper supplies, pens, pencils and stack of yellow legal pads on which he stated, "my first sketches always begin." He talked of his work process from pencil sketches to finished product, and mentioned how closely he worked with his art editor, and the importance of listening to a voice other than one's own, if one would be successful in any field. No matter what your age, accept this invitation to take more than one looks at the many books this talented artist - truly gentle spirit, has illustrated. After his presentation, Smith and Treadwell returned to the exhibit, to take a second look at the illustrations and saw much more than had been seen before. With autograph copies in hand the travelers headed home, reflecting on this visit, and hoping some of you will join in if the Orlando Museum of Art can bring Jerry Pinkney back - along with poet Marilyn Nelson, to discuss their joint venture in the production of Sweethearts of Rhythm - female singers and swingers of an earlier era.
Henrietta Smith/MT

SLIS Volunteers Work in the Community

Posted on October 23, 2009

Not only is Saturday, October 24th, a commemoration of United Nations Day and the first-ever marking of "350 Global Day of Climate Action," but it's a good day to think about the impact you can make volunteering on the USF campus and in the community.

350 Supporters in Mumbai, India formed a giant 350 in a public park as part of their Earth Day 2009 - International Day of Climate Action (photo credit to

One place to work on the USF campus and do regular and continuing volunteer fieldwork is in the Patient Library and Welcome Center at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. Anne Larrivee, the newly-elected Vice President of the SLIS Student Organizations Special Library Association (SLA) chapter is among the students from USF who have helped cancer patients, their families, the public, and the full-time staff in Moffitt's Patient Library. Jeffery Austin, Co-Secretary of the SLIS Student Organizations, is a good contact to find out more information about volunteering with Moffitt's Patient Library.

As our national newspaper's weekend edition, USA Weekend, reminds us with "Make a Difference Day" this weekend, your volunteering in the community has a real impact! -JA

Initative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce awarded to Marcela Estevez

Posted on October 23, 2009

In an effort to appeal to individuals of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has undertaken the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce. ARL believes that a multicultural focus within the scope of the library will offer a more comprehensive reflection of the dynamic demographics associated with the field of research and academic libraries.

USF SLIS student Marcela Estevez was named the recipient of the award offered under the ARL program! The award includes a stipend of up to $10,000 (over two years) to be used toward continuing education in the LIS field.

Current SLIS Graduate Student Marcela Estevez

The program objectives are:

  • Strengthening participants' leadership skills via a Leadership Institute held in conjunction with ALA Midwinter Meeting
  • Developing a network of mentors who will guide and nurture the career development of the participants

    Congratulations, Marcela!

    SLIS Alumnae Become FAME Officers

    Posted on October 22, 2009

    At the close of the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) Conference, Cecelia Solomon was installed as the new President. Solomon, a graduate of USF's School of Library and Information Science, will hold the position for the 2009-10 year, ending at the end of next year's annual conference.

    New FAME Officers

    Another USF alumna also took up her new role as a FAME officer this year as well. Deborah Rothfeld became the new Secretary, a position that she will hold for the next two years.

    Distance Education and LIS Programs

    Posted on October 20, 2009

    The November 2009 issue of American Libraries is running an article about distance education in the United States. They turn to Dr. James E. Andrews, director of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa, for some insight to how library and information science programs are working with distance education tools. Professor Andrews states that the faculty -

    "generally engage their online students through the use of asynchronous tools in the learning software, such as weekly discussion boards and blogs, and other Web 2.0 tools." He adds, "We also use audio and video in lectures, and many professors design creative projects that involve such activities as online group work, library visits, or others that go beyond merely presenting the content online. The key to the most successful use of these is sound curriculum and instruction design that goes beyond merely the gratuitous use of technology."

    The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that "employment opportunities in the library and information science job sector are projected to experience positive growth in coming years." With the increasing sophistication of online and distance education, it's become easier for students who don't live next to an MLS-degree-granting institution to pursue a master's level education.

    To find out more check out the ALA's list of accredited programs to find one near you, or check out the USF School of Library and Information Science website to learn more about our program.


    Posted on October 19, 2009

    Dr. Ann Riedling and Jessica Voss at the USF SLIS booth

    AThe USF booth at the Florida Association for Media Education (FAME) annual conference was done in a football inspired theme, and nearly everyone had something to say about it. FAME came time right after USF defeated FSU in a landslide victory and while some were crushed, others were very proud of their Alma Mater. However, that was just one of the reasons the booth was successful. The new online School Media Cohort generated a lot of interest as well! IMG_4295 (From left to right) GA's Bridgette Woodley and Alechia Dow, Jessica Voss and Dr. Jim Andrews at the USF SLIS booth SLIS students Bridgitte

    (From left to right) GA's Bridgette Woodley and Alechia Dow, Jessica Voss and Dr. Jim Andrews at the USF SLIS booth

    SLIS students Bridgitte Woodley, Alicia Long, and Alechia Dow had the opportunity to sit at the USF booth and chat with passers-by that were either interested in the cohort, happy about the football victory, graduates of the program, and/or were thinking of getting their MLIS at USF. Dr. Anne Riedling, Department Chair Dr. James Andrews, Communication and Information Officer Jessica Voss and Professor Diane Austin also sat in on the booth fun.

    We had neat little gadgets and candy to give away at the booth, but we also had two amazing baskets made by Academic Program Specialist Wendy Steiger that were up for auction. We took in $40 for one, and $80 for another. Thanks Wendy!!

    One of the USF SLIS baskets that was auctioned

    The Conference itself was successful, and we learned about school media and emerging technology capabilities. FAME is a great place for students and professionals alike to learn, and also to be a part of an exciting venue for networking where you can meet amazing leaders in Media Education!

    Dr. Stephanie Maatta Publishes Annual Placements & Salaries Survey in Library Journal

    Posted on October 19, 2009

    In the October 15th issue of Library Journal, Dr. Stephanie Maatta published the annual placements and salaries survey that is conducted every year. The article is titled, "Jobs and pay take a hit" and can be found in the Volume 134 No. 17 print version of Library Journal or online at Placements and salaries survey 2009. This year, they received responses from 46 of the 54 ALA accredited LIS schools and from 2,119 of the appromimately 6,589 total LIS graduates. USF SLIS is one of the programs that participates in this survey every year.

    Johns Hopkins award for USF alumna Sharon Epps

    Posted on October 19, 2009

    Sharon Epps, Head of Access Services at the University of Maryland's Library, is a graduate of USF SLIS and the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware. Her article "African-American women leaders in academic research libraries" won the Johns Hopkins University Press 2009 Award for best article, which appeared in their journal Portal: Libraries and the Academy, in July 2008.

    USF SLIS alumna Sharon Epps

    Epps is a former staff member at the University of Delaware's Library, where she conducted the research for her article. According to UD Daily, Epps' article "identified the attributes, knowledge, and skills that African-American women need to succeed as leaders" at research institutions.

    SLIS Alum Andy Huse Keeping Busy

    Posted on October 19, 2009

    On Tuesday, November 4, SLIS alum Andy Huse is not only scheduled to speak about his new book (see below) at 2:30 PM in USF Tampa Library's Grace Allen Room, but he'll also be speaking at 6 PM in CIS 2020 as part of SLIS student organizations' After Dark Lecture series. Then, on Tuesday, November 10, he'll be speaking at the Siboney Room in Ybor City's Columbia Restaurant (6:30 PM) for Tampa Bay History Center's "Florida Conversations" series, hosted by Dr. Gary Mormino. Andy's busy schedule appears to be a result of the upcoming publication of his new book titled, The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine (University Press of Florida, pubdate: 11/12/2009). Andy's new book is available just in time for Christmas shopping.

    At the Columbia, Andy will also be signing copies of his new tome.

    Let's all join in congratulating Andy. And remember, wherever Andy is, there's likely to be some really good food nearby!

    Impressions about USBBY Conference from Dr. Smith

    Posted on October 14, 2009

    USBBY 8th Regional Conference
    October 2-4, 2009
    St. Charles (Chicago), Illinois

    The moment this conferee saw Conference President John Mason at the O'Hare Airport there came a sense that all would go well at USBBY - and indeed it did.

    The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) organization with world wide regional chapters focuses on bringing to the attention of all, the wealth of books for children and young people all around the world. There is further emphasis on the need to find ways to get books to those young people living and struggling in many of the depressed countries around the world. It was almost disturbingly interesting to note how FEW children's books from other countries are available ??? published or easily acquired from publishing houses in the United States. This is particularly so about books that are published in the language of that particular country. Yet one looks in awe at the illustrations ??? the unique perspectives many illustrators use, the subtle sense of humor, the challenge to the reader to as one illustrator advised, "learn to look at a picture out of the corner of your eye, not always straight ahead." That made this conference attendee, return to a book that had been once read, and re-read as if for the first time, this particular wordless story.

    Arriving at the conference during the period when things were being set up, provided the opportunity to meet many of those who would later address the USBBY members. During one "conversation" session participants were able to see examples of handmade cloth books. They came from workshops held in areas where poverty was rampant and educational materials almost totally beyond reach. Those who participated in the workshops were able to add to their meager supply of educational materials, books that with care, were almost indestructible. During the Discussion Sessions, one got a deep insight into what each person brought to the conference, based on the contents of the books chosen for the discussion. The themes ranged from treatment of women in some area, an author's perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, early history of slavery in Brazil, to name just a few. The protagonist in each title was a young person or several young people whose actions were viewed as a sign of HOPE for a future world. USBBY was a small conference that lent itself to almost constant conversation with attendees from all over, the beginning of, or at times the renewal of acquaintances, with time for more than just a quick, "Hello, I'll see you later." Perhaps there was not the landscape beauty of other conference sites, Calloway Gardens, Georgia, or Tucson, Arizona, but the time for meaningful exchanges with colleagues from so many different places held a beauty all its own. Fresno, California, here I come (I hope).

    Henrietta M. Smith /MT / DA from LOC

    Posted on October 14, 2009

    Visit the new multimedia website offering resources from throughout the Library of Congress designed to encourage the reading of books and to interest users in learning about the authors and illustrators who create them.

    The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is offering this site, at, as part of its mission to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries.

    The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress invites people of all ages to discover the fascinating people, places and events that await you whenever you read. -KdlPMc

    Spectrum Scholar Alicia Long receives a Spectrum Travel Stipend Scholarship

    Posted on October 9, 2009

    Current USF SLIS student and Spectrum Scholar Alicia Long has been selected as one of the recipients of the Spectrum Travel Stipend Scholarship to attend AASL National Conference in Charlotte, NC, Nov. 5-8, 2009. The Scholarship also includes a Mentorship for the duration of conference and recognition at a conference function.

    Alicia Long

    USF SLIS Reception at FAME a success

    Posted on October 9, 2009

    On Thursday, October 1st from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. the USF SLIS Department held a reception at the Florida Association for Media in Education Annual Conference that was held at the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort. SLIS faculty, students, and alumni gathered at the reception to have snacks and conversation.

    Dr. Cora Dunkley with students

    Dr. Linda Alexander with students

    Interim Director Dr. Andrews attended the reception to talk with alumni. Also, Larry Dennis, FSU's Dean of the College of Information, stopped by to chat with USF SLIS faculty, students, and alumni.

    Dr. Andrews and Dr. Dennis from FSU

    Challenge Grant Program

    Posted on October 5, 2009

    Current USF SLIS student and Spectrum Scholar Alicia Long has been selected as one of the recipients of the Spectrum Travel Stipend Scholarship to attend AASL National Conference in Charlotte, NC, Nov. 5-8, 2009. The Scholarship also includes a Mentorship for the duration of conference and recognition at a conference function.

    National Institutes of Health

    Dr. Jim Andrews is the Co-Investigator on a grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of the "Challenge Grant" program. The grant's Principal Investigator is Dr. Rachel Richesson from USF Health's Pediatric and Epidemiology Center and now an affiliate faculty member of SLIS. She is also the co-editor with Dr. Andrews on the forthcoming text, Clinical Research Informatics (Springer). The grant is titled, "Library of Standardized Patient Registry Questions for Rare Diseases" and will develop standardized questions for patient registries across many different rare diseases, which can be used for developing new registries and revising existing ones. The library questions will use consistent structure and language and the underlying data elements (i.e., questions + answers + definitions) will be encoded using data standards that will facilitate reliable and consistent data collection and enhance opportunities for question re-use and data sharing. In this project, a combination of domain experts in rare diseases research and technical experts will be used to develop a coded library of standardized questions relevant to various rare diseases, with plans for implementation into the broader rare diseases research community.

    Patient registries are an important first step in estimating the impact and understanding the etiology of rare diseases - requisites for the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics. The inability to access existing standardized registry questions results in lengthy and resource-intensive registry development efforts and limits opportunities for data sharing. A standardized library of data elements will speed the development and deployment of patient registries and allow registries to share and receive data from other registries or data sources. In addition, a library of standardized registry questions will enable cross-indication and cross-disease analyses, facilitate collaboration, and generate more meaningful results for rare disease patients, physicians, and researchers.


    SLIS Grad Jenna Freedman Will Speak At The NY Art Book Fair

    Posted on October 1, 2009

    The NY Book Fair will take place on Oct. 2-4, 2009

    Jenna Freedman, a SLIS alumna, will be speaking about zines in libraries at The NY Art Book Fair. She is scheduled to speak on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 2pm. The fair will be held at the P.S. 1. Contemporary Arts Center, Long Island City, Queens, and will showcase a diverse selection of noteworthy contemporary art publications.

    Jenna Freeman

    A Bio From Jenna Freeman's Blog:

    Jenna Freedman is a zine librarian and librarian zinester. She is the Coordinator of Reference Services at Barnard College in NYC and a member of Radical Reference, a collective of library workers that meets the research needs of activists and independent journalists. She has published articles on zine librarianship and presented around the United States and in France on that topic as well as on other themes of library activism. She is the 2007 winner of the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award, a 2003 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, and edits a zine reviews column for LJ.

    News from the front-NEFLIN Bookmobile Interest Group

    Posted on October 1, 2009

    NEFLIN, the library consortium for northeastern Florida, has an ongoing group that meets two to three times a year to discuss bookmobiles. The meeting on September 29th took place at the Bradford County Public Library in Starke, FL. Attendees included: one bookmobile worker from the New River Library Cooperative, six bookmobile workers from the Alachua County Public Library System and one USF SLIS graduate assistant. The New River librarian who oversees the service joined the meeting in the last hour to glean accomplishments and help set up the next session.

    Attendees of the meeting. Who forgot the refreshments?

    Continuing dire news for library patrons included the absence at this meeting of library bookmobile workers from Jacksonville and Clay County. These counties have discontinued their bookmobile service as cost-cutting stratagems. This is sorry news, indeed, as it is likely to have the greatest impact on those with the fewest alternatives for access. Bookmobile service outputs that might not be readily apparent include:

  • Service to the incarcerated, juvenile facilities and adult day care centers
  • Service to rural patrons without access to transportation
  • Service to newspaper and magazine readers who might not otherwise be able to afford access

    Yes, it was originally a horse van

    It might be surprising to learn the Alachua group reports each vehicle serving more patrons per year than many of their branch buildings. County commissioners might be slower to axe the service in the face of hard data clearly supporting this observation in other regions as well.
    Web site:

    Alachua's bookmobile schedule and map of stops

    The camaraderie and esprit de corps of this group points to people who find great enjoyment and gratification in their work. Most of them have been driving and staffing the bookmobile for decades. They report an exceptional personal connection with their patrons that exemplifies the ideal of community. It can also be a source of rich anecdotal insight.

    One worker pointed to the library card issued from the bookmobile. This system offers a card with a picture of the bookmobile on one side. The background for this picture is blue with wispy white suggesting clouds. The worker reported a young patron asking how the bookmobile got onto the card? When she was told it was a picture, the young patron continued, "But how did you get it up there?"

    The personal connection goes as far as invitations to family events including weddings and funerals. The same worker from the previous anecdote reported attending a viewing at a funeral home for a patron. She attended with her long time bookmobile partner. During the gathering, a child approached them and respectfully whispered, "Is the bookmobile out in the parking lot?"

    These workers clearly employ cost-saving strategies for providing materials and giveaways to patrons. For example, they gather free coloring books from Publix and the U.S. Post Office to give away to patrons who might enjoy them. So it's particularly troubling to imagine many of these expensive vehicles sitting idle around Florida while greater and greater numbers of library patrons are forced to go without service in their communities because of it.