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LIS Alumna Ana Barreto appointed by the ALA Office for Diversity as field recruiter for Discovering Librarianship

USF SI-LIS Alumna Ana Barreto has been appointed by the ALA Office for Diversity as a  field recruiter for the Discovering Librarianship project – a recruitment initiative focused on introducing ethnically diverse high school and college students to careers in libraries. More than 100 applications were received, and field recruiters were selected based on demonstration of leadership potential; interest in recruitment; and committed support from current employer, including time to participate in training and recruitment events. Ana currently works as a librarian at the Miami Dade Public Library. You can read more about this project and the others that were selected here.



Christine Wigfall Morris Signing at North Greenwood Library Branch

Christine Wigfall Morris

This Friday, Nov 19 from 3-6 pm, the Clearwater Library System will host a book signing for Christine Wigfall Morris, the first Black Librarian in the Clearwater Library System, at the North Greenwood Library Branch in Clearwater. Christine started working as a librarian in Clearwater, Florida, in 1949.  She  had never stepped foot in one of the city’s libraries before accepting the position. She has published her life story about family, community, and history. To see the event registration click here.


Dr. Henrietta M. Smith Participates in HistoryMakers Back to School Week

In celebration of HistoryMakers Back to School Week, Dr. Henrietta M. Smith addressed students at the Park Vista High School, Lake Worth, Florida. HistoryMakers (http://www.thehistorymakers.com/) is a program founded in 1999. There goal is to interview and preserve the life story of those who have “made significant accomplishments in life of both ‘well-born and unsung African American History Makers. – going beyond the Civil Rights movement, music, sports and entertainment’.”

(Pictured from L-R) Principal Reginald B. Myers, Author Glennette Turner, Dr. Henrietta M. Smith, Instructor Audrey Spicer, and Asst. Principal LuAnne Daucanski

For the HistoryMakers go back to school week, those whose interviews were on record, were invited to address students in a school in their home area.  Henrietta M. Smith was invited to speak to students at Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, Florida.  Addressing an audience of over 250 ninth graders, she spoke of her childhood with a mother who believed that proper speech was essential to “get anywhere” in life and so sent her to elocution school.  There Smith attests, she learned the beauty of poetry from the Bible to the works of writers of the Harlem Renaissance period. She shared with listeners the distinction between dialect and standard English, quoting from the works of Paul Laurence Dunbar.  She shared with the students some ideas about how to live with dignity with your fellows, using excerpts from Countee Cullens The Lost Zoo. Cullens, a school teacher in Harlem taught his class of recalcitrant boys the futility of fighting, of name calling and being too vain among other subjects, all in humorous poetry with serious messages from “The Squilililigee” to “The Snake That Walked Upon His Tail”.

In speaking of career moves, Smith related that upon moving to Florida, with a background in Public Library work and a degree from Columbia University, she could not be hired at the Public Library in her community because of the color of her skin, unless she wanted to work as a page and shelve books. The necessary career change found Smith in the position of school librarian and with further study – a position at the University level. She reminded the students that without perseverance, changes can be made that enrich one’s life forever.  Her presentation was closed with sharing a laugh arousing short story from African American folk lore,  with the underlying theme that what is inside your head is more important than the color of your skin.  It was a great time with teachers who had planned well and students whose courtesy  and demeanor made the morning so worthwhile.


USF SLIS Celebrates its Second Spectrum Scholar this Year!

USF SLIS is proud to once again have two of its students awarded the American Library Association’s (ALA) Spectrum Scholarship for 2010-2011. Yrenes Fornes, along with Sylvia Martinez, is SLIS’s newest Spectrum Scholar. Ms. Fornes earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Central Florida before deciding to pursue her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science here at USF.

USF SLIS's second Spectrum Scholar this year, Yrenes Fornes

Regarding her decision to enter this field, Ms. Yrenes  explains, “I did so because I love libraries and the LIS field, especially because I can put my Bachelor’s degree to good use while making a difference.” She is excited about the classes she has taken so far and is encouraged to continue on thanks to the Spectrum Scholarship.

The Spectrum Scholarship is awarded through the ALA’s Office of Diversity and was created to encourage the recruitment of under-represented ethnic groups into the library profession, and also to bring attention to diversity issues effecting the community at large.

SLIS wishes Ms. Fornes the best of luck this year!


SLIS Shines Bright at ALA Conference

The USF School of Library and Information Science was well represented in a variety of areas by a diverse group of faculty and students during the June 24-29 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Throughout the week, SLIS faculty and students had lots of great things to say about their experiences.

Early in the conference, Dr. Debra Slone attended workshops and the second annual Town Hall Meeting on Diversity. The Town Hall allows the ALA Diversity Committee to connect with the ALA membership, hearing their concerns and sharing ideas. Debra Slone was quoted in the Saturday, June 26 edition of the, ALA Cognotes page 21, regarding teaching, diversity issues, and intellectual freedom.

V. Gregory & K. O'Brien

V. Gregory & K. O'Brien

Dr. Vicki Gregory, SLIS Professor and current Chair of the ALA COA (Committee on Accreditation) spent much of her time at ALA in accreditation related meetings and activities. She and Karen O’Brien, ALA COA Director, moderated a panel of directors from other accrediting associations to better understand accreditation standards and competencies. Presenters were Crystal Calarusse , Academic Director of the National Association of Public Affairs and Administration and Laura Rasar King, Executive Director . Dr. Gregory said that it was “very interesting to hear how two other professional program accreditors view accreditation practices and procedures. Although in many ways they were very similar to COA’s, the panel members provided a number of new ideas to consider during the ongoing COA Standards Review.” To learn more about ALA Accreditation, go to http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/accreditation/

On Saturday, Dr. Henrietta Smith participated in a panel discussion entitled “Trailblazers: What We Can Learn from our ALSC Leaders. She and Carole Fiore, consultant and past ALSC President , Anita Silvey, Author & Children’s Literature expert, and others reflected on the past, present, and future of the field.

One of the highlights of the conference was when Dr. Kathleen de la Peña McCook, USF-SLIS Distinguished University Professor, presented the 2010 Dr. Jean E. Coleman Library Outreach Lecture on Monday, June 28th. The lecture honors the first director of the ALA Office of Literacy and Outreach Services (OLAS). Her topic, “Librarians and Human Rights” looked at the “historical and cultural analysis of the librarian’s role in human rights” (ALA Cognotes, 06/27/10). The lecture explored the philosophical basis of librarian’s commitment to human rights and human development as exemplified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Millennium Development Goals. She and co-author Katherine J. Phenix, read excerpts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and dedicated select passages to colleagues in the audience representing the essence of those declarations with in the field. For more info go to http://www.ala.org/olos.

Dr. McCook is featured under OLOS news and in the ALA conference news, ALA Cognotes, Sunday June 27 , edition on page 11 .

Dr. Cora Dunkley and Dr. Henrietta Smith, editor of the Coretta Scott King Book, were part of the working committees and attended the Coretta Scott King Book awards breakfast on Tuesday, June 29. The 2010 award winners are announced at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/emiert/cskbookawards/recipients.cfm .

CSK Awards Breakfast

CSK Awards Breakfast

Also in attendance from SLIS were SLIS Assistant Director Diane Austin, current SLIS student and ALA student chapter president Bill Harris, and SLIS alumni Josh Newhouse (’05), a media specialist in Tampa. Bill commented, “ALA is a marathon but is a great learning experience that I recommend to others who have the opportunity to attend”. After the breakfast, the faculty participated in photo ops with authors and other CSK affiliates (see http://www.facebook.com/usfslis#!/album.php?aid=183164&id=347754542878&ref=mf). Dr. Dunkley also interviewed noted children’s author Eloise Greenfield.

C. Dunkley & E. Greenfield

C. Dunkley & E. Greenfield

In addition to the honor of being Coleman lecturer, Dr. McCook moderated the program discussing the National Women’s History Museum Project.  Joan Wages, President and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum addressed the audience about the need for grassroots support and the legislative issues of the project. She presented some of the online exhibits currently at the NWHM site. More information about the project and online exhibits can be viewed at http://www.nwhm.org/

Alicia Long and Shalu Gilliam represented 2009-2010 Spectrum Scholars at the conference. Shalu, who will be graduating from the SLIS program summer 2010 semester said, “Attending the ALA conference was a motivational experience for me. It was amazing to be around thousands of librarians excited about their profession.” Alicia, who helped staff the REFORMA booth for the Diversity and Outreach Fair, and attended several of their programs (Pura Belpre Awards and President´s Program) added that “having the opportunity of meeting so many people who want to make a difference in the profession was inspiring and it compensates for the bad news we hear about budget cuts, closings, and lack of opportunities. I came back with a notebook full of notes, a pocket full of business cards, and a new perspective that made me appreciate the big picture of librarianship in a way that could have never happened in my little corner of the world.”

Along with representing the USF SLIS program at various functions and meetings, Diane Austin, SLIS Assistant Director and instructor of media, technology, and web design courses, attended several technology based presentations sponsored by the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA). ALA member organizations presented current practices and the exchange of ideas to meet future technology demands of libraries and information centers. She also hosted the ALA/ALISE Joint LIS School Reunion, table for SLIS alumni, interacting with current and previous students and colleagues from other library schools throughout the country, including USF SLIS alum Sam Hastings, Director of the University of South Carolina LIS program , faculty from Florida State University FSU School of Library & Information Studies, and Elaine Yontz, former SLIS faculty member, now  Chair of East Carolina University’s SLIS program , along with husband Jack R. Fisher, SLIS alum. Seeing the conference not only as a great networking opportunity to meet and collaborate with others in the profession and learn about the issues facing the field, Diane saw the conference as  a testament to librarians and their contributions to society, lifelong learning, and the quality of life. Next year’s annual conference is June 23-28, 2011 in New Orleans. DA

Meet our newest ALA Spectrum Scholar

Ms. Sylvia Martinez will begin full-time pursuit of her MLIS this fall at USF SLIS with the support of a Spectrum Scholarship from the American Library Association. Perhaps the best way to articulate the focus of this scholarship program is with ALA’s description of it: “Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA’s national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future.” [1]

Sylvia Martinez is USF SLIS's newest ALA Spectrum Scholar

Serendipity is our good fortune

By the time Ms. Martinez experienced the blinding-flash-of-light moment resulting in her determination to become a librarian, most scholarship application deadlines had already passed. In exploring the resources listed through the SLIS Web presence, the ALA Spectrum Scholarship was one of the few still accepting applications for the coming academic year. Sylvia’s challenge is our good fortune. We get to enjoy both her collegiality and our collaborative service to ALA in pursuit of the mission of this program.

Sylvia moved to the Tampa Bay area a few years ago after 11 years of teaching public school in the Minneapolis area.  She reports that during this time she was “always jealous of the librarians!” (She punctuates this statement with laughter.) Her favorite assignment with her students was taking them to the library to learn how to do research, which she also enjoys. During her summer breaks she regularly convinced an academic librarian friend to bring her along to work.

Ms. Martinez is playing her cards close to the vest for now and keeping her options open concerning her focus in librarianship. She’s made a head start acclimating to our program by beginning with her first ever, totally on-line course. She reports very much enjoying Foundations with Professor Stephanie Race. And she reports valuable input from her advisor, Professor Scott Simon. But she also looks forward to meeting as many of her colleagues and SLIS faculty as possible. [AB, 6/22/2010]

She may be contacted through USF email at: sylviam@mail.usf.edu

1 American Library Association. 2010. Spectrum scholarship program. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/diversity/spectrum/index.cfm

BCALA Smiley Student Award Announced

The 2010 BCALA Smiley Student Award has just been announced!

The Award provides an expense paid trip to the 7th National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL) for an applicant determined to reflect the goals and ideas of ancestors who support higher education and training for students. Dedication to the enhancement of minority participation in the field of Library Science will be facilitated by student participation in this award program. Two (2) students will be reimbursed expenses to attend the 7th NCAAL in Birmingham, Alabama from August 4-8, 2010 (see http://www.bcala.org ). The committee consists of Gladys Smiley Bell, chair, Dorothy Burnett, Ph.D. and Karma Ga-Raines.

During the midwinter meeting in Washington, DC in 2001, Past BCALA President Gladys Smiley Bell proposed to the executive board to establish The Smiley Student Award in honor of her parents, Ghainous W. Jr. and Margaret E. Smiley. Both parents were educator’s who mentored their children and their children’s friends on the importance of getting an education at every chance. For a long time Gladys wanted to support Library Science students of Color to attend professional library conferences. When she was a library student, while she belonged to ALA, she didn’t know about BCALA. BCALA has established itself with its national conferences. Gladys has stipulated that the award provide support up to $1,000 per NCAAL and the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC).

This opportunity will challenge each of us to encourage and be more aware of student members of BCALA. Each nominee must be a student member of BCALA and enrolled in an ALA accredited graduate Library School graduate program. The successful applicant must agree to submit the following to the Chair of the Smiley Student Fund:

  • A letter of no more than 1,000 words describing his or her career goals in Library Science, the impact that the award and subsequent BCALA conference attendance will have on those career goals. Letters of recommendation will be accepted (not required) from BCALA members or Library School Faculty;
  • Register for NCAAL and submit a copy of the registration confirmation letter;
  • No later than 3 weeks after the closing of the 7th NCAAL, submit a written summary (no more than 1,500 words) of their personal experience at the conference for publication in the BCALA newsletter issue following the conference.

Deadline: All application materials must be received (or postmarked) by Friday, April 30, 2010. Recipient(s) of the award will be informed within four weeks of the deadline, in order to begin making travel arrangements. Evaluation will consider student’s potential for positive contributions to their career field of Library Science and NCAAL impact. Application materials may be submitted electronically (preferred and as a MS Word attachment) to Gladys Smiley Bell at gbell@kent.edu or via mail Gladys Smiley Bell, Chair BCALA, Smiley Student Award, P.O. Box 254, Hampton, VA 23669.

For more information please visit: http://www.bcala.org/awards/smiley2.htm