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Liveaboard Librarian?

Sure, librarians and SLIS students are more dependent these days on Internet access. You bet that we spend more time than ever in front of a keyboard and computer screen. But that hasn’t stopped SLIS graduate assistant Arlen Bensen from reaching a personal life goal by living aboard a sailboat while he attends the Masters program in Library and Information Science at USF.

Bellatrix anchored last March south of Ft. Jefferson, Dry Tortugas


WiFi definitely is a happy technology to Arlen. He chips in with neighboring boat-dwellers on wireless Internet access and enjoys the same frustrations with Blackboard as hard-wired users. Indeed, one of his two “next-slip” neighbors telecommutes from his boat for Verizon through this WiFi system three days per week. Arlen augments this digital library access with physical libraries including USF (Tampa and Sarasota-Manatee), Hillsborough County Library System (the teeny Ruskin branch and South Shore), Selby Library in Sarasota and the Safety Harbor Public Library where he’s currently doing fieldwork.

Naturally, part of the beauty of being able to untie your home and move it lies in the places you visit away from the dock. Besides day sails on Tampa Bay and local overnight jaunts, within the past year Arlen has enjoyed sailing his home hundreds of nautical miles including round trips to the Dry Tortugas and the Pine Island Sound area. He’s entertained vague ideas about trying to sail to as many U.S. national parks as possible.

The January 2010 issue of SOUTHWINDS Magazine (News and Views for Southern Sailors) contains Arlen’s feature on his floating home. For a peek at Bellatrix, look in SOUTHWINDS for “Pacific Seacraft 34 Boat Review.” It’s not likely to appear in the “Parade of Homes.” http://www.southwindssailing.com/ This free magazine is also available in print at marine businesses like West Marine stores.



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