A native of Jacksonville, I've watched Jacksonville grow from a geographically large small town into a thriving metropolitan area. I was educated in the city's public education system and received an excellent academic background that has helped me to successfully finish four college degrees. My first college degree was an Associate in Arts in English Education, earned at Florida Junior College at Jacksonville. I followed this up with a Bachelor's in Secondary Education/English at the University of North Florida. My original intent was to find employment as a high school English teacher. When I first graduated, the market for teachers was glutted. Instead of launching into a teaching career immediately, I began what has become a long term relationship with the Library at the University of North Florida.
I moved through a number of different positions in the library to get to my final professional position as faculty in the Special Collections Department. Along the way I also picked up a Master's degree in English at the University of North Florida and have also taught English composition at St. Johns River Community College and at Florida Community College at Jacksonville. Even though I never pursued my original idea of teaching high school, my responsibilities in the Reference Department and also in Special Collections involved a considerable amount of teaching.
In the late 1990s, I pursued and completed a Master's degree in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University. The degree program was offered almost entirely online, using a combination of technologies which included Web pages, Ichat, and Real Player presentations. In the initial stages of the program, students met in electronic classrooms for lecture and discussion facilitated by video conferencing. Written work was usually submitted via email or through Web forms available at the course Web sites. As the number of students in the program increased and as the technology improved, FSU's School of Information Studies began experimenting with offering all content via the Web. The majority of my coursework was finished totally online, and in August 1999 I finished the program and was granted my second master's degree.
I taught the library's skills class, LIS1001, from 1995 through Spring 2012. A freshman elective, LIS1001 provides students with a conceptual framework for the organization of knowledge and strategies for accessing information using both traditional library sources as well as newer electronic sources, including the Internet. Ignorance is not bliss for university students. Beginning Library Information Systems Strategies, or BLISS, aims to eliminate library and information retrieval ignorance and train competent researchers. I taught my last section of LIS1001 in Spring 2012 and continued to maintain the LIS1001 Web site, keeping readings up to date and adding new materials as technology and search capabilities change. Just prior to my retirement, I reformatted and updated all of the readings in the Web site and moved them into the library's Digital Commons. The readings and a brief history of the course are archived in Digital Commons at http://digitalcommons.unf.edu/bliss/.
My official title at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library was University Librarian. Much of my professional career at the library was spent in the Reference Department as a reference librarian and instructor. The Library's aggressive move into providing researchers with the best in library and information technology has provided me with a fertile learning atmosphere and an excellent testing ground for trying out newly acquired skills. My long association with the library stands as testament to my enchantment with libraries and emerging technologies. Most recently, I moved to the library's Special Collections Department as Special Collections Librarian. In this capacity, I oversaw the daily operations of Special Collections, offered class sessions on Special Collections, maintained the collections, and managed the library's University Archives.
May 31, 2014, I retired from the University of North Florida after nearly 40 years of service. My colleagues recommended me for the status of University Librarian Emeritus, which was approved by the library's Dean and by the Provost.