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University Librarian Emeritus  

Welcome to my website
I am a retired University Librarian at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. I've worked in libraries for nearly 40 years and have taught English Composition at St. Johns River Community College in Orange Park, Florida, and at Florida Community College at Jacksonville (now Florida State College at Jacksonville). As of May 31, 2014, I retired as the Special Collections Librarian.

Why Libraries?

I was raised when television was still in its infancy. I remember watching the Beatles play on the Ed Sullivan show on my grandfather's rather small black and white TV. I think it was an RCA. It was in a beautiful solid wood cabinet which was far nicer than any expensive furniture that is made nowadays.

While it was exciting to watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, what was really exciting to me at that time was that I had a library at my elementary school and that I had a public library within walking distance of my elementary school. I grew up reading books and loving books for all the ideas that they gave me and all the stories that they told me and all the enjoyment that they afforded me. And my parents and my grandfather (my grandmother died when I was four) really encouraged me to learn and to read and to strive for something greater than what they had. To them, education provided the means and libraries and books held the key. So, early on, I became an avid reader and an eager student.

My first year in school, I think I checked out every biography in the Annie R. Morgan Elementary School library. I read about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and George Washington Carver. More importantly, I learned that books record what we've learned and provide a blueprint for what we still need to learn. They illuminate, elucidate, educate, and entertain. They enrich our souls and build our brains. They remind us of what we've been and of what we have the capacity to be.

I've always been around books and have always surrounded myself with books. What could be more natural than for me to work in a library as a librarian?

While this isn't rocket science and it's not as important, perhaps, as medicine, it strikes me as a most important field. What's really interesting about libraries and books is that one of the first things to come under attack in a despotic regime is information and access to information. National libraries have been destroyed when conquerors made inroads into other nations. Hitler tried to burn the past and create his own version of history. Communist and totalitarian regimes restrict the flow of information and attempt to erase all traces of the past except for what they want their constituents to know. So information must be crucial and access to accurate information must be vital.

This is why libraries.

While the Internet provides nearly universal access to information, it still does not provide access to all the information that is stored in the world's libraries. Google is trying to remedy this with their Books project, but there is still so much information in libraries that will not be universally available for many, many years. And as the Internet becomes more and more universal, more and more governments will limit their citizens' access to it. And if everything electronic crashes, libraries will still safeguard the information that we have been able to gather so far.

While we all love our fast Internet connections and our televisions and our CDs and our radios, if all our new technology ever should fail us, we still have the technology that has seen us through many centuries past and will see us through many centuries forward.

Heaven help us if we ever lose our libraries.

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Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. -- Barbara W. Tuchman