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The Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative would like to give your institution the credit it deserves. We’re happy to share news of special events, improvements, and achievements from the libraries of our state’s public colleges and universities.

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INSTITUTIONS IN THE NEWS 

 

August 2017

The University of Florida (UF) George A. Smathers Libraries has been granted at $310,000 supplemental award by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund a third digitization cycle for the Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project, according to an Aug. 2 news release. Since 2013, the project has received a total of $923,000 in funding from the NEH, the single largest direct award ever received by the UF Libraries.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) Libraries’ STARS digital repository has surpassed half a million downloads in less than two years of operation, according to a recent news release.  The Showcase of Text, Archives, Research & Scholarship (STARS) contains content “by, for, or about UCF.”  Its 500,000-plus downloads have come from all over – 22,504 organizations and institutions in 223 countries.

Florida International University (FIU) Libraries’ Digital Commons, established in 2008, hit a milestone earlier this year when it surpassed 2 million downloads. The Digital Commons is “full-text, online, open access repository and publishing platform for the scholarship, creative output and history of FIU with over 12,000 items across 820 disciplines.” 

 

July 2017

Pardon their dust, but libraries are busy getting better this summer. Some great renovations and cool spaces have recently debuted or are in progress at public college and university campuses across the state. Here’s news of a few, gleaned from posts on libraries’ Facebook pages and websites:

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) pulled up old carpet in the first-floor lobby of Wimberly Library at the Boca Raton Campus to reveal concrete, then had that industrial surface ground, stained, and buffed until it gleams like polished glass. See the result at left, photo courtesy of FAU Libraries. There’s more construction to come, as the library’s Reference Desk was removed to prepare for the building of a single service point that will combine the three service desks on Wimberly’s first floor. For more photos, check FAU Libraries on Facebook

Also at Florida Atlantic’s Wimberly Library, a new multi-purpose study and presentation space for students, faculty, and staff recently opened on the fifth floor. “We are taking what money we can find and are using it to create spaces that are more inviting, functional and conducive for our students,” Dean of Libraries Carol Hixson said in a university news release. “The Libraries and everyone in them are here first and foremost to help the students of this university succeed.”

At Lake-Sumter State College’s (LSSC) Leesburg Campus Library, the “Ideation Lounge” opened June 19 for students, faculty, and staff. No reservation is required to use the colorfully decorated space. See the lounge on Facebook.

A fifth-floor makeover at the University of South Florida (USF) Library in Tampa will create 400 new seats of study space by fall. Furnishings are designed for individual study, and workstations are equipped with electrical outlets – one of students’ most-wanted features according to USF’s furniture testing. The library has shared an infographic showing the findings.

Thomas Cetwinski, Director of Planning and Accountability for the USF Library, spoke with The Oracle about the renovation and the evolution of libraries on campuses.  “The use of libraries has changed,” he told the student publication. “It was originally just a warehouse for books. Now, however, it acts as more of a social aspect. The library has become a destination point for students.” 

College of Central Florida (CCF), meanwhile, has a whole new campus opening July 24. The Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, in Chiefland, replaces the storefront Levy Center, which closes July 18. The Levy Campus is the first permanent higher education facility in Levy County. Its comprehensive student center, shown below in a photo courtesy of CCF, will house enrollment services, counseling and advising, financial aid, testing, computer stations, a campus bookstore, student lounge and student life office, a health and wellness area, five fully equipped multi-purpose classrooms, a large multi-discipline science lab, three state-of-the-art computer labs, faculty offices, and adjunct space.

 

June 2017

Florida International University (FIU) is one of 11 universities and colleges across the nation recently selected to be part of the 2017-18 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program.  OpenStax is a nonprofit organization based at Rice University with a mission to improve student access to education through open access textbooks and educational resources. As a Rice news release details: “Institutional partners receive school-specific consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of 26 other colleges and universities advocating widespread use of open educational resources (OER) on campus. Partner schools commit to student success by reducing high textbook costs while still presenting quality content and protecting academic freedom. Last year’s institutional partner schools saw a 150% increase in the amount of students using OER and will save an additional $4.9 million in the coming academic year.” Along with consultation services to help Florida International assess and improve its OER efforts, the university will receive tech support for adoption of OpenStax content, webinars, and more. The university’s application to the program was authored by Gus Roque of FIU Online, in consultation with the FIU Textbook Affordability Committee and the FIU Libraries, Dean of Libraries Anne Prestamo reports. FIU’s OpenStax OER Task Force will include participation by librarians Valerie Boulos and Sarah Hammill.  

 

Florida Polytechnic University has been granted initial regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a significant milestone the university has diligently worked toward since its founding, according to a university news release posted June 16. The decision means that Florida Poly's graduates from earlier this year and in the future will have a degree from a regionally accredited university. “Our university has achieved a number of significant milestones in our short history, but this is the biggest yet,” said Florida Poly President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “Accreditation signals to prospective students and faculty that we are serious and legitimate contenders in the world of higher education.” Gov. Rick Scott also weighed in on the achievement, saying, “I was proud in 2012 to sign the bill creating Florida Polytechnic University, and today’s announcement furthers the university’s goal of providing students with a world-class education."

 

With 114 patents to its credit in 2016, the University of South Florida (USF) ranked fifth among American public universities in generating new U.S. patents for the year, according to a recent report from the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association. USF ranked 11th among universities worldwide. As the Tampa Bay Times notes, USF’s total made it first in the state for patents generated. Next in line is the University of Florida (UF), with 91 patents. The University of Central Florida was credited with 56, and Florida State University with 48.

 

May 2017

The Florida State University Libraries have received the 2017 Florida Library Association Web Presence Award. This statewide award promotes awareness of the importance of good design and usability in web page development and recognizes outstanding examples of effective library web pages, as well as a library's overall web presence, including blogs and other social media. “This honor is a result of the hard work and dedication of numerous faculty and staff who develop and maintain our website and our other online services,” said Julia Zimmerman, Dean of University Libraries. The FSU Libraries website, lib.fsu.edu, gets more than half a million visitors a year and was recently redesigned by the Libraries’ Web Development and Marketing Teams. For more on  the award, see FSU Libraries’ full post.

 

State College of Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, has installed a webcam monitoring the progress of its new Bradenton Library & Learning Center Construction Project. Right now, walls are rising and the $17.68 million facility is taking shape. The scheduled completion date for the project is January 2018. Groundbreaking was Oct. 3, 2016. 

 

In other library news, we’re just catching up with a couple of creative outreach efforts:

The Valencia College West Campus Library, in Orlando, is now offering a Tiebrary. Students can check out neckwear for two or three days, plus the library offers a video showing how to tie a tie on Facebook. Librarians might note: The ties are not in Aleph.

The Florida Gulf Coast University Library received 13 submissions for its First Annual Literary Peeps Diorama Contest in honor of National Library Week, April 9-15. The competition cast the little marshmallow confections as characters in dioramas based on works such as Plato’s Republic, Stephen King’s It, and the stories of the Brothers Grimm.  See photos of the entries on the library’s blog

 

April 2017

The school library media program offered by the School of Information at Florida State University (FSU) was ranked No. 1 for the fifth year in the 2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools,” published March 14. The program is offered within FSU’s Master of Science in Information degree program, which moved up a spot to be ranked 12th in the nation overall.

 

The College of Central Florida (CF) ranks as one of the nation’s best colleges for nontraditional undergraduates, according to GreatValueColleges.net. CF – with campuses and centers in Ocala, Lecanto, and Chiefland – is No. 30 on the site’s newly released list of "50 Best Colleges for Adult Education.” For the purposes of the list, nontraditional students are defined as those who have children and did not enroll in college immediately following high school. Data from the National Center for Education and U.S. News & World Report was used in determining rankings.

 

March 2017

A Rockin' Renovation at Polk State College

 

The bright orange chairs are attention-getters, but they’re only a small part of the picture at Polk State College's James W. Dowdy Library, which has undergone a transformational renovation during the past several months. The official ribbon-cutting for the revamped structure took place Feb. 28.

Planning for the project at the Winter Haven campus began years ago with “making wish lists and collecting ideas from students, staff and faculty,” says Christina Fullerton, Director of the Teaching, Learning and Computing Center (TLCC) & Learning Resources at Polk. “Last year the real action began, with architects visiting, watching us in our natural habitat, and listening,” she explains.

In Spring 2016, the library was moved to a temporary location with the most used portion of its collection, a bit more than half of the total. The rest of the collection was boxed and placed on pallets. “The new space was built around them,” Chris says.

By winter break last year, work was mostly complete, and the laborious process of moving back in began. Now, “we are still working on a lot of things, but we are functional,” Chris says.

They are also thrilled. “Overall, we love the space and how people are responding.”

The renovation completely modernized the library’s existing structure. “Everyone says the new space is so much bigger, but it is the exact same footprint, just more efficiently used,” Chris says.

She lists some of the best new features:

  • Two entrances, north and south.
  • One easy-to-find services desk for circulation and reference.
  • Sky lights! “We now know if it is day or night or raining or sunny! Such a mood booster for all!”
  • A variety of study and work spaces for individual and group needs.
  • Study carrels around the side and behind the collection for quiet needs.
  • A writing tutor office.
  • Couch with bar and charging station for homework, lounging and hanging out.
  • Mobile shelving units that will adapt to changing needs.

The space is also thoughtfully arranged:

  • All library staff offices face out into the library or service desk area so everyone can see when assistance is needed.
  • Staff who work closely to tech services or instruction have offices that also connect to those areas.
  • Windows that were previously hidden by shelving now let in light all around.

Florida A&M University will become the home of one of the largest African-American news networks in the nation early next year, according to news reports. The Black Television News Channel (BTNC),  set to launch in February 2018, will be based on the FAMU campus at the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. The Tallahassee Democrat reports: "The BTNC is being touted as the first 4K Ultra HD newsgathering and production infrastructure of its kind. It is expected to include a multi-million-dollar, media-training center for aspiring journalists."

 

The Seminole State College of Florida nursing program has been ranked as the best in the nation by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the college reports. The ranking is based on the passage rate for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam from April through Septemeber 2016. Out of the 1,946 nursing programs nationwide, Seminole State ranked first with a pass rate for the time period of an impressive 100 percent.  

 

February 2017

New College of Florida has again been named one of the country’s top colleges for return on investment by the respected and long-running Princeton Review. The ranking comes in the just-released 2017 edition of Princeton Review’s book “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.”  New College, “the Honors College,” is located in northern Sarasota County.

 

The Learning Resources Center of Northwest Florida State College will become the Susan Myers Learning Resource Center following a $1 million bequest to the center by Susan Pryor Sloat Myers, described in a college news release as a “lifelong champion of education, philanthropist, and community activist.” Myers also intends to endow, through a planned gift, six scholarships to memorialize loved ones, according to the news release. “The college has a permanent presence in Northwest Florida, with deep roots in the community, much like my family,” Myers said of her support for NWFSC. Along with a main campus in Niceville, where the Learning Resources Center is located, the college operates a joint campus with the University of West Florida in Fort Walton Beach, the Chautauqua Center in DeFuniak Springs, the Robert L.F. Sikes Education Center in Crestview, and centers at Hurlburt Field and in South Walton County.

 

January 2017

Learning Resources at Miami Dade College is one of three recipients of the 2017 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award from the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). Sponsored by ACRL and GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO, the award recognizes the staff of a college, university, and community college library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution.

"These three deserving recipients demonstrate a commitment to student learning and a user-centered, data-driven approach to developing programs and services, with a focus on campus diversity and creative and transformative services, that exemplifies today's best academic and research libraries," ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis said. "Receiving an Excellence in Academic Libraries Award is a national tribute to each library and its staff for outstanding services, programs, and leadership."

Learning Resources at Miami Dade College won in the community college category. It impressed judges with "its campus collaboration and marketing efforts, as well as its academic support," a news release states. 

"The Learning Resources department at Miami Dade is dedicated to the success of its highly diverse, global student body of more than 165,000," said Karen A. Williams, chair of the 2017 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and interim Vice-President for Information Technology, CIO, and Dean of University Libraries at the University of Arizona. "The libraries are the heart of student support on campus, housed in Learning Resources along with technology and academic support centers. The committee appreciated their needs assessment, campus collaborations, proactive marketing, strong instruction program, strategic redesign of their learning commons, and embedded librarians, tutors, and technologies."

"This award is a validation and a timely recognition of the valuable work that the Miami Dade College libraries have done over the years to support and enrich the learning process at our institution," Erick J. Dominicis, College Director, Learning Resources at Miami Dade College, told ACRL. "The award, moreover, corroborates the importance of the collaboration and partnership developed by the library and the faculty at the college in the development of strong collections and an even stronger information literacy instructional program for the benefit of our students. The ACRL Excellence Award will further motivate librarians and Learning Resources staff to continue the great work for which they are now recognized."

The Excellence in Academic Libraries Award also went to Columbia College Chicago Library in the college category and Santa Clara University Library in the university category.

 

December 2016

With the inauguration of its first baccalaureate program on the horizon, North Florida Community College (NFCC) is taking formal steps toward a name change, the Suwannee Valley Times reports.

NFCC, located in Madison, is now asking for input on a new name from focus groups representing current and past students, staff, the NFCC District Board of Trustees, and the local community. A vote on the change by trustees is expected in January. If all goes according to plan, the new name will be officially adopted by the fall term of 2017. NFCC’s first baccalaureate-degree program, in nursing, begins in August.

 

October 2016

Library & Learning Center, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota

The Bradenton campus of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota is growing, and the construction of SCF’s new Library & Learning Center has begun. This has been in the works for a long time and is exciting news. The expected completion date for the 64,000-square-foot facility is January 2018. 

The University of Central Florida has lots of new technology for students to check out from the library this semester. Click here to see their fun video.

Lake Sumter State College is using EBSCO Information Services’ new Flipster database, which allows students digital access on their devices to the magazines to which the library is subscribed.  Other schools offering Flipster access include Palm Beach State, Seminole State, and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

 

September 2016

Robert Manning Strozier

Florida Polytechnic was recently featured in the U*N* A *B* A *S*H*E*D™ Librarian, Number 179 (Number 2 of 2016), for being an all-digital library. 

North Florida Community College Library now houses a new Academic Success Center. The center has brought lots of new traffic to the library, according to Director of Learning Resources Lynn Wyche. 

Florida State University’s Strozier Library has a new statue of former FSU President Robert Manning Strozier, shown at left, sitting at the entrance. Strozier served as university president from 1906 to 1960. Click here for more information.

 

 

August 2016

Florida International University, Miami Dade College, North Florida Community College, and University of West Florida were recently listed among the “Great Colleges to Work For: 2016,” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

University of Florida has been named one of Money magazine’s “2016 Most Valuable Colleges.”  UF ranks number 15 on the magazine’s list of 705 schools nationwide.

 

June 2016

Florida International University, University of South Florida, Rollins College and Nova are the Florida institutions that participated in the just released Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) article, Documented Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success: Building Evidence with Team-Based Assessment in Action Campus Projects (PDF), which shows compelling evidence for library contributions to student learning and success. 

Florida Polytechnic University posted a recent video about their digital rescources: About Florida Polytechnic University's Digital Library.

Florida State University implemented a new FSU Textbook Fund through the library. The Text Book Fund was created to help students who have demonstrated a financial need through one of several FSU programs.The library will purchase text books to be borrowed by students throughout the semester at no cost.

Florida Gateway offers a family-friendly study space with toys and books for children to enjoy while their parents are studying.  

Judith Russell, Dean of University Libraries, at the University of Florida has announced a new pilot project  with Elsevier to maximize visibility, impact and dissemination of articles by UF researchers that have been published in Elsevier journals. Article links and metadata are now automatically delivered to UF’s institutional repository (IR@UF) through ScienceDirect application programming interfaces (APIs).  For more information visit: www.infodocket.com/2016/05/19/university-of-florida-uf-and-elsevier-launch-pilot-project-to-maximize-reach-use-of-uf-research-articles.

 

May 2016

Florida A&M University has been named among the top five colleges for African Americans by Money and Essence magazines. The top five universities included Princeton University, Harvard University, Duke University, Cornell University, and FAMU.

Starting in April, the Lake-Sumter State College library introduced a new e-book management platform powered by ODILO. It features bestselling and popular titles available to Lake-Sumter students, faculty, and staff. E-Books can be viewed on computers and a large number of mobile devices using the ODILO app. Lake-Sumter State College is the first college in the country to adopt this e-book platform from ODILO.

Florida International University now offers digital bookplates to honor graduates. The graduate or their family selects a subject area and the library creates a bookplate that will remain in the library catalog as a testament to the student's commitment to education and success. 

 

April 2016

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, awarded every two years since 2011, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and offers one million dollars to the winner. Of the 150 eligible schools nationwide, Florida boasts 10% of the nominees for this prestigious award. Florida colleges named to the list include: Broward College, Chipola College, College of Central Florida, Daytona State College, Eastern Florida State College, Florida SouthWestern State College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Indian River State College, Northwest Florida State College, Palm Beach State College, Saint Johns River State College, South Florida State College, and Tallahassee Community College. Nominees must excel in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

Book clubs! There are many among our colleges and universities. The creative and energetic book club at Florida Keys Community College has 21 members who read a wide range of literature and go on field trips. Visit the College of Central Florida's book club web page to see their list of books for the year. Santa Fe College's Greedy Reader Book Club welcomes students, faculty, and staff and hosts an active blog. 

 

February 2016

University of West Florida Libraries has recently launched an Institutional Repository (IR) to serve as an online showcase of research, scholarship, and creative activities from the UWF community. 

Florida State College at Jacksonville is hosting the 27th annual International Conference on Teaching and Learning, April 4-7, 2016.

The University of Central Florida Special Collections & University Archives hosts an annual Student Book Arts Competition for students. This year’s winner is the book Stitched by Nikki Navaille. 

 

January 2016

The Learning Resources Center at Northwest Florida State College now offers a charging station for students. The charging station, funded by the Student Government Association, allows students to charge their cell phones while they study in the LRC. 

Florida Polytechnic University has launched STEMStudy.com, a new website designed to help high school students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees as they begin researching and applying for college. The website provides a centralized source of information about the college application process for students focused in STEM areas. It includes articles, application checklists, videos and interactive content that can be informative and valuable to STEM-focused students through all four years of high school. 

 

October 2015

UCF Launches New Repository

The University of Central Florida has a new STARS Repository to disseminate, publicize, and share works by, for, and about UCF. The intention is to provide access to this work as broadly as possible, and for as long as possible.

FSU to Add Popwermat Charging Spots

Powermat Technologies today announced a joint venture with Florida State University Libraries (FSUL) that will see Powermat Charging Spots fully installed on campus, helping students keep their digital lifestyles powered throughout the day. Becoming just the second university globally to offer wireless power on campus, the FSU Libraries integrated Powermat technology into high-traffic common spaces in both Strozier and Dirac Libraries, transforming them into fully enhanced mobile optimized venues. “Students are back on campus and course work is heating up. It’s important for the library to support the technology that keeps them connected to the information and learning resources they need,” said Julia Zimmerman, Dean of the Library Florida State University. “We have lots of requests from students to provide more access to power and more ways to keep up-to-date on University news. Powermat is a perfect blend.”

Leadership Award for Achievement

The Florida Virtual Campus received the 2015 Leadership Award for Achievement at the annual PlanView Horizons Customer Conference. The certificate reads: Florida Virtual Campus is recognized for building consensus and whole-hearted adoption of Projectplace to bring together geographically dispersed team members, experts, and stakeholders to launch their rebranded website on time. Projectplace is a new tool that FLVC is using for project planning. 

 

August 2015

Santa Fe College has been selected to receive a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA). Of the 203 grant recipients selected from across the country, Santa Fe College  was selected as one of the 54 institutions to receive a cash grant of $10,000 to hold public programs this fall. The programs will include public film screenings, discussion groups and poster exhibitions about Latino history and culture. Events will be hosted in collaboration with the Lawrence W. Tyree Library at Santa Fe College as well as community organizations including the Alachua County Library District, Latina Women’s League, University of Florida and Alachua County Coalition against Human Trafficking.

Florida Gateway College has been named a 2015 Best Value School by University Research & Review. FGC is one of only 25 schools in the nation to receive this designation and the only school in the state of Florida to receive it. More than 8,000 post-secondary schools were eligible for the list and the selection process was conducted by a committee of former college presidents, university CEOs, provosts, and professors.

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