A Look Back on Our Add-Your-Art Tapestry Event

This fall semester opened with a bang! At FSU Libraries, we welcomed hundreds of students to engage with our resources and help them start the semester strong. Beginning on August 23rd, we hosted the Add-Your-Art Tapestry event where students could stop by either Strozier or Dirac libraries and contribute their own designs to our paper tapestry. More perks from the event included free t-shirts, candy, phone wallets, and stickers for students to enjoy! The week culminated in the installation of the tapestry inside Strozier nearby the new Scholar Support desk. Student Engagement Specialist, Emily McClellan played a great role in getting this wonderful event together. Let’s take a look at what she did!

Starting as an idea from Engagement Assistant Jaidyn Smith, the events were coordinated by McClellan. From the start of the summer, McClellan’s first task was to create the design of the entire tapestry. With help from former Engagement Assistant Ashanti Grace, they were able to create a piece of art open for students to color in images and fill in spaces with their own creative designs.

Once printed and ready, it was time to collaborate with other campus organizations. McClellan reached out to WelcomeFSU—an organization that helps connect new students to FSU resources and introduce them to the campus during the first few weeks of school—and was able to get campus-wide promotion for this event. Through social media and multiple FSU-related websites, the Add-Your-Art Tapestry event received massive amounts of interest from current and new students. In the days nearing the event, McClellan and Alaina Faulkner (the Libraries’ Student Engagement Associate) tended to the nitty-gritty: creating the signage for the events, collaborating with Strozier and Dirac library staff for tables and chairs, purchasing coloring supplies, and creating schedules for the employees that would help run the event.

Through everyone’s hard work, the event was able to launch with a large turnout! Over 100 students engaged with the event over the course of a week and created a dazzling display of creativity and camaraderie. We appreciate all of the work put in by our staff and collaborators that made this event shine! Here are some pictures from the event:

Check out this article written by the FSView for more info on this awesome event!

To find current and future events at FSU Libraries, check out our events calendar here. Curious to hear more about what FSU Libraries is about? Read more about us on our newly-renovated website.

This blog post was written by Jasmine George, Student Engagement Assistant at FSU Libraries.

Meet the Visual & Performing Arts Librarian

Leah Sherman

As the Visual & Performing Arts Librarian at Florida State University something I say often is that no two days are ever the same. And how could they be? I am the liaison to all six departments within the FSU College of Fine Arts (Art, Art Education, Art History, Dance, Interior Design, Theatre) as well as the FSU Master Craftsman Studio, the FSU Museum of Fine Arts in Tallahassee, and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. For these programs, I am responsible for all things arts-related such as collection development and management, library instruction, and reference. In this work, I’m always learning something new, and that’s one thing I really love about my job!

While my academic background lies in Art History, I am constantly inspired by the variety of arts topics I see throughout each semester. In the same week, I can go from acquiring forthcoming publications in medieval art history to working one-on-one with Dance majors researching the evolution of breakdancing. I might also be collaborating with our Special Collections & Archives Division to purchase rare materials like artist books and illuminated manuscript facsimiles, or even consulting on a digital scholarship project like the creation of the Open Access arts journal, Athanor.

Probably the biggest project I’ve been working on lately is the formation of FSU Libraries’ Art in the Library program. This new initiative is all about bringing the visual and performing arts into the library for the benefit of the entire Florida State community. We are a student-centered program that aims to highlight the work of artists across our campus, regardless of their major or professional aspirations.

Over time, Art in the Library programming will include student art exhibitions, pop-up performances, hands-on art-making experiences, and hopefully so much more! One project we recently finished was the reinstallation of Karl Zerbe prints on the 2nd floor of Strozier Library. Also, starting this month you can catch our first student art exhibition People I Know by Art Education graduate student William Rowe at Dirac Science Library.

If you are an artist interested in exhibiting with FSU Libraries: applications for the spring 2023 semester are being accepted now through September 30, and all the information about our exhibition program and future deadlines can be found on our website.

Found works of Karl Zerbe

Finally, when I’m not working with the Fine Arts community at FSU, I am active in several professional organizations. The Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and its Southeast Chapter (ARLIS/SE) are two groups that have been very influential in my development as an arts librarian. These organizations have given me amazing opportunities to advance my scholarship through conference presentations and publications, grow my leadership skills by serving on committees and in executive roles, and connect with colleagues and mentors from around the world. Besides my work in the physical library, I have personally found that my ability to contribute to and shape my field of arts librarianship through such professional service is extremely rewarding.

This blog post was written by Leah Sherman, Visual & Performing Arts Librarian at FSU Libraries.

Meet the Government Information Specialist

My name is Priscilla Hunt and I am the Government Information Specialist for Florida State University Libraries. I first became involved with Strozier Library as a student here on campus desperately in need of class materials and resources.  As I became more familiar with the library, I took a student position working at the circulation desk and assisting the Associate Dean of Research & Learning Services, and then later on a staff position where I currently reside. 

As the Government Information Specialist, I handle a wide variety of tasks such as collection development of government resources from local, state, federal, and international levels. Additionally,  I help manage the government information portion of the library website, create physical and digital displays, engage in consultations with the public, and supervise Federal Work Study students. The last of which became the recipient of the 2022 FSU Mores Award

My two most recent projects include participation in  a team effort to create a research guide on gun violence, and FSU’s “The Human Library Project.” It is our goal that the research guide on gun violence will help to facilitate conversation, teaching, and scholarship on controversial social issues such as gun violence as well as serve as a valuable resource for data and key information. Meanwhile, The Human Library Project will include individuals of various backgrounds that make themselves readily available to scholars on campus, as a human “book” to be checked out and interviewed as a means of exploring diversity through open minded conversation. The goal of the Human Library Project is to provide a safe space for our scholars to gain perspective and understanding of individuals with unique experiences and stories, while promoting the library as the hub of the intellectual community. 

To tell you a little more about myself I’d say that I have a passion for helping people, and I like to see people reach their full potential whenever possible. I believe that we all benefit when we take the time to learn from one another and that when one of us succeeds, we all do.  So, should you ever find yourself in Strozier in need of assistance, please feel free to find me and I will do my best to help! 

This blog post was written by Priscilla Hunt, Government Information Specialist at FSU Libraries.

Art in the Library: 10 Questions with William Rowe

William Rowe

FSU Libraries’ Art in the Library Committee organizes visual and performing arts programming in its spaces to enrich the library as an aesthetic and academic environment. A major part of this program includes exhibiting artwork drawn from the FSU student body on a semester-long basis.

William Rowe is a current graduate student in the FSU Department of Art Education. Rowe graduated with a BFA in Art at Florida State. People I Know, featuring a collection of recent paintings by Rowe, is on view at Dirac Science Library during the Fall 2022 semester. Leah Sherman, Visual & Performing Arts Librarian, and Art in the Library Chair had the privilege of interviewing Rowe about the exhibit. Below is the full interview.

FSU Libraries (FSU): Tell us about this show- give our readers a brief introduction to the work you are exhibiting with us this semester.

William Rowe (WR): These paintings all portray people who are personally close to me or they are self-portraits. Each work depicts a specific moment in time with the sitter, capturing the atmosphere of that moment. In the portraits of others that are included in People I Know, each of the subjects is a very close friend and or is my partner.

(FSU): What is your favorite work in this show? Tell us a little more about the story behind it.

(WR): Bedroom: I finished this one very quickly – just an hour or two – so it has painterly or messy energy. This aesthetic is satisfying to paint; it gives a nice, intimate vibe through its abstract atmosphere.
Staircase: Unlike Bedroom, this one took a long time. It was not a happy accident. It is gratifying in its own way, though, after putting many hours into its creation.

(FSU): What does your artwork represent about you? What message do you want to send out into the world through your art?

(WR): My paintings say that I like to paint and they say a lot about who I care about, as revealed in their subject matter. Each work carries a lot of the artist’s emotions, thoughts, and feelings projected onto the subjects. The goal with a lot of these works is to capture a feeling – an authentic moment in the painterly medium. Clear renderings of a moment, not fabricated narratives. These works are meant to show a real person in a real moment.

(FSU): How does being a student impact your creative process?

(WR): I made a lot of this work while in the BFA program – being a student pushed me to make more work. I find less opportunity now in grad school and have painted less in recent years. However, I have found a lot of creative time in the breaks between semesters.

(FSU): Is research part of your art-making process? If so, could you give us an idea of what that process is like? Where do you do research before you start making? Are there any specific kinds of information that are critical to your work?

(WR): My version of research is constantly looking at artists I like – not only following historical movements but also artists working right now. When painting I also work from photographic references. I often capture moments in photographs to revisit later in my paintings.

(FSU): Who are your biggest artistic influences?

(WR): Salman Toor is one painter working today that I admire. His work is abstract and not very realistic. The theme of many of his paintings speaks to his background as being Middle Eastern, queer, and an immigrant. He creates very complicated, complex narratives that center on these themes.
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is a historical painter I am inspired by, especially his color palette and painterly style. I also enjoy his screen-printing and have done some screen-printing of my own as well.

(FSU): Do you have a preferred medium to work in?

(WR): Acrylic paint for sure, but I have done some work in oil. Overall I enjoy acrylic more because I find it better to work with, as a more flexible medium. I like working in gauche as well.

(FSU): How does art-making fit into your day-to-day life?

(WR): While I don’t paint for my current graduate degree, I work at Painting with a Twist and that gives me a lot of opportunity to paint outside of school. It’s a hands-on job where I practice copying and teaching. I also have my eye out for inspiration on a daily basis and I am frequently taking photos to return to later.

(FSU): What is your dream project or collaboration?

(WR): I would love to be part of a larger exhibition or project just dedicated to portraiture. I have exhibited before but not as often with many other painters, especially with painters more in dialogue with my own work around portraiture.

(FSU): Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

(WR): Find more from William Rowe on Instagram @windforder

Are you an artist or a group of artists looking to exhibit your work? Interested in sharing your art with the FSU Community? Have a curated exhibit you’re ready to share? Submit an exhibition proposal for the spring semester by Sep 30, 2022. This semester the Art in Library Committee is accepting proposals to exhibit at the Dirac Science Library, on the main floor in the hallway surrounding the central stairwell and elevators. This space is viewed by hundreds of students, staff, and faculty a day and can accommodate 10-15 hanging works depending on the size. For more information and to submit your exhibition proposal, visit this link.

Florida Book Awards Launches 2022 Competition

The Florida Book Awards has announced its 2022 competition for the best Florida literature and established a Jan. 13, 2023, entry deadline.

2021 Florida Book Awards winner

Coordinated by Florida State University Libraries, the Florida Book Awards is the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program, established in 2006 to recognize and celebrate the best literature by Florida authors and books about Florida published each year.

The Florida Book Awards now includes awards in 11 categories and is introducing a Gold Medal for Poetry Chapbooks within the Poetry category.

Authors must be full-time Florida residents, except in the Florida Nonfiction, Visual Arts and Cooking categories, in which the subject matter must focus on Florida.

Books may be submitted by authors, publishers or members of the public in any of the categories: Cooking, Florida Nonfiction, General Fiction, General Nonfiction, Older Children’s Literature, Poetry, Popular Fiction, Spanish Language, Visual Arts, Young Adult Literature, and Young Children’s Literature. Descriptions of these categories and instructions for submitting nominations are available at floridabookawards.org. All books nominated must have a 2022 copyright date and an ISBN number.

Entries must be received no later than Jan. 13, 2023, but applicants are encouraged to submit their books for competition as soon as possible after their books are published. Winners will be announced the first week of March 2023.

Gerald Ensley Developing Writer Award- Nominations Open

Gerald Ensley

Nominations for the Gerald Ensley Developing Writer Award are also open. This award, established in 2019, aims to recognize a writer who has shown exceptional talent and the potential for continued literary success and significance.

Nominees for the Ensley Award must be Florida residents who have published at least one but no more than two books in any of the Florida Book Awards categories and exhibit demonstrated ability and promise for continued growth. The award is accompanied by a $1,000 prize. Nominations are due by Dec. 31, 2022.

Instructions for nominating a writer are listed at https://www.floridabookawards.org/ensley-award.

The Florida Book Awards involves library, literary and cultural organizations, including the State Library and Archives of Florida, Florida Humanities, Florida Center for the Book, Midtown Reader, and the Word of South festival. Learn more about the Florida Book Awards at https://www.floridabookawards.org/.

This blog post was written by Nikki Morse, FSU Libraries’ Event & Marketing Manager and Director of the Florida Book Awards.

Where Are They Now: Alumni Student Employees

Libraries are one of the top campus employers of students with a yearly average of over 70 student employees in the last five years. As one of the top employers: do we play a role in the success of students while they are employed with us, and does working in the libraries influence their career experiences after graduation? In the Fall of 2021, the Assessment Team at FSU Libraries found ourselves asking these exact questions. So, we embarked on a study to explore this with some of our former libraries’ employees from the past five years. 

After receiving IRB exempt status, we connected with six former employees of the FSU Libraries Assessment Department for this first study cohort. We wanted to know how former-student employees described their work experience at the library. What aspects of library employment did they perceive influenced their current career outcomes? What are ways we could incorporate what we learned to support current part-time employees with more meaningful campus experiences while at FSU? 

Most students in this first cohort were in STEM majors and were hired in data analyst roles.  They collected, prepared, analyzed, and reported on library data, created data visualizations, benchmarked survey results, presented papers and posters at conferences, and helped to coordinate statistical survey data for national and regional organizations.  

Benefits and drawbacks of working on campus & in the Libraries

Alumni employees found working on campus to be convenient—especially since the library was located near their classes. Participants said that they valued working on a beautiful campus, with real-life data, and enjoyed working in the pleasant atmosphere of the library.  Drawbacks or challenges included time management and shifting gears between classes and work duties, and sometimes they found themselves on campus from sun-up to sundown. Some reported cramped office space, while others wished they had gotten comparable pay with that of a corporate internship and found that working a campus job did not prepare them for the fast-paced work environment of deadlines and deliverables they now face in their current jobs. 

Highlights of their FSU experience

Participants of the study shared that they enjoyed learning how to collect, find, share and synthesize data. They found it particularly useful working and visualizing real-world data to solve problems. Often students have trouble relating the information they learn from a textbook to practical applications in the real world. This experience allowed our employees to practically apply the information they learned in a job setting. Another aspect participants cited as enjoyable was the opportunity to meet and connect with other campus partners on different projects. Being able to see how data and libraries could be integral to campus success gave a new perspective to our employees. A final highlight from this study was learning how many of our women participants have excelled in STEM fields post-graduation.  

Key experiences our participants had on campus

  • Building friendships, relationships, and mentorships with colleagues and other members of the FSU Community  
  • Engagement on campus in the LeaderShape Institute and Garnet & Gold Scholars Program 
  • Opportunities for professional development, including submitting and presenting conference proposals and papers  
  • Tutoring peers including student-athletes and at the Reading Writing Center on campus 
  • Participating in internships and experiences abroad at our international campuses 
  • Going to career fairs and speaking with recruiters about potential job opportunities  

Looking into the future & how we can improve the experiences of our part-time employees

Former student employees said that they would have liked to have collaborated more with other library departments and to have learned about other parts of the library. This is especially true for those who switched their career plans and decided to work in libraries after working here. For example, one alum shared that they wished they knew more about Digital Humanities.  They also wanted more opportunities to practice their leadership skills, such as leading meetings and giving presentations. 

Overall, this study was invaluable in helping us better understand the student employee experience and ways we could improve future students’ employment at the libraries. One pillar of the Libraries’ Strategic Plan is “Investing in People” and it’s become a top priority of the organization to continue improving the professional development opportunities for both our full-time and part-time employees. This study has opened the door for others, and we hope to do further studies with the various departments within the libraries that employ student employees. To view the PowerPoint presentation for the New England College Assessment Conference, follow this link.  

If you are a former alum employee and would like to participate in this study, please reach out to Kirsten Kinsley (kkinsley@fsu.edu).

This blog post was written by Kirsten Kinsley, Assessment Librarian at FSU Libraries.

New Entrance and Scholar Support Desk

This summer Strozier received some exciting updates to improve your study experience.  Here are the changes you can expect to find upon your return to campus this fall. 

Once you enter Strozier this fall the changes will be immediately evident. As you are greeted by the security team you will find the old rotational turnstiles are no more. In their place are glass doors that automatically open once you have swiped in with your FSUID. After you breeze through the new and improved turnstiles you will be welcomed by our scholar support team at the brand new Scholar Support desk, which is now located directly across from the turnstiles. 

The new Scholar Support desk offers support for all of your needs during your time in Strozier. Here’s everything the Scholar Support Staff can help you do.

 Book and locate study rooms: Individual Study rooms be checked at the Scholar Support Desk, first come, first serve, unlike group study rooms which can be booked online via this link.

Course Reserves: Faculty can request library-owned or personal materials to be put on Course Reserve for their classes for students to use in the library only. Students, visit this page to learn more about using Course Reserves and search for your course through the Course Reserve Search! Instructors, you can learn more about what Course Reserves are and how to make a request here.

Tech for checkout: Our Scholar Support Desk circulates lots of technology, most for 4-hour loans. This includes laptops and laptop chargers, phone chargers, graphing calculators, and more! You can find what equipment the library has available for checkout  here: or stop by the Scholar Support Desk and ask the team! 

The Tech Desk: Launching this Fall, Tech Desk staff will be able to assist with technology and program troubleshooting; printing; and loaning 3-day equipment, such as cameras, projectors, game consoles, and wireless hotspots. Stop by the tall computer station on the Scholar Support Desk to ask the Tech Desk staff any technology related questions! l

Reference Associates will also be located on the Scholar Support Desk. Reference Associates are staff who can help you with your research project or paper, including how to find the best resources available through FSU Libraries’ databases and website. 

Blog post was written by Ashanti Grace, Student Engagement Assistant Strozier Library.

My Experience as an Engagement Assistant

My time as an Engagement Assistant began in February of this year. I had been looking for an on-campus job for quite some time and I actually happened to see an ad for it posted on the libraries’ Instagram page. As a book lover, creative writing major, and student who has just spent entirely too much time in Strozier, I thought this just might be the perfect role for me. I emailed right away inquiring about the position and the response confirmed everything I already believed: it was a perfect match.

As an Engagement Assistant, I would be tasked with engaging with students while promoting library resources and services. I would also help to brainstorm and plan events for the library with a team of 3 other Engagement Assistants. I would also be able to work on projects that made great use of my writing and entry-level graphic design skills. 

@fsulibraries

Follow along as Ashanti shares her experience as a Student Engagement Assistant at fsulibraries. #fsu #fsutiktok #floridastateuniversity #fsutok #tallahassee #fyp #librarytiktok @floridastateuniv

♬ original sound – FSULibraries

As someone who would like to pursue a career in marketing after college this job has given me many opportunities to gain experience in the field. From grassroots marketing like tabling and simply talking to students, to conducting market research by having students fill out brief surveys, to designing materials for library events. This role has allowed me to get an idea of what the rest of my career could look like. Prior to this job I had never designed anything in an official capacity, only for myself as I tried to teach myself the entirety of Adobe Creative Cloud in the throws of Quarantine. I have been able to hone my skills through the completion of projects and insightful feedback from my boss.

My background in retail has made this experience quite different from what I’m used to as an employee. I’m used to a fast-paced, quantifiable results-oriented environment. While the role is results-oriented, I have found that I am able to take my time with projects and produce more quality work over sheer quantity. Not only that but the projects are exciting! It’s so fun to go behind the curtain of a part of campus that has been so heavily involved in my college career. It’s also nice to have some input on student programming to make the experience that much better. Not only that but the input that my peers and I contribute is actually valued. The schedule has been very flexible as well since this is an on-campus job everyone is very understanding of the difficulties of balancing work and school as a full-time student. This has been a very nurturing experience and I feel a growing passion for creating useful experiences for students to not only learn something but also have fun. 

My favorite project by far has been the Summer Photo Wall and Bucket Lists. Since the summer semester is a shorter time period with significantly fewer students there wouldn’t necessarily be enough time to have actual events as we have in the fall and spring semesters. With that being said we wanted to create something that would carry throughout the summer and be more of an independent activity that would still encourage library engagement. Through brainstorming and research, we came up with the idea to design an interactive photo wall where students could come and sign the wall as well as take a photo to ‘check-in’ and mark the beginning of the summer semester. We also added a QR code to remind students to back at the end of the semester to ‘check-out”.

The second part of this project is the Summer Bucket list which was designed to resemble a library check-out card. We designed two lists: one for the main Strozier library and one for Dirac Science Library.  Each list Included items and activities about how students can become engaged with the libraries and the larger campus community. Each list had different themes: Dog Days at Dirac and 500 days of Strozier. By the end of the summer, we had over 200 signatures from students on the photo wall. It is so rewarding to see people engage with something you’ve been working on and imagine the ways in which it might bring people joy. 

While I was “away” for most of this summer serving as an orientation leader here at FSU, I’ve learned a lot in the 4 consecutive months I got to be here, especially from my coworkers. I’m so grateful for this job because it’s the first time I actually was doing something I wanted to do. I found myself getting excited to come and continue working on projects. I didn’t just have a boss but more of a mentor who was always willing to teach and guide me through things and check in with me throughout the semester. I always knew if I had a question I could ask, whether it was about school or work or somewhere in between. I’ve gained so many transferable skills, and a few friends along the way, and if you can walk away from a job with at least that, I think you’re doing pretty okay. 

Blog post written by Ashanti Grace, Student Engagement Assistant at FSU Libraries, 2022.

Digital Book Display: American Stories Through the Ages

July is a month of celebration and remembrance of America’s greatest accomplishments. To commemorate America’s 246th birthday, we have compiled a list of novels and films telling the American stories of success, struggle, and growth as time has passed. We hope to celebrate the diverse American experience throughout history and provide a reflection on the American mosaic.

Continue reading Digital Book Display: American Stories Through the Ages

My Time as the Immersive Scholarship Graduate Research Assistant

During the Fall ’21 and Spring ’22 semesters, I served as a Graduate Research Assistant with the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (DRS) at FSU Libraries. Collaborating with Matthew Hunter, the Digital Scholarship Librarian, I worked to increase FSU Libraries’ support of research services that utilize 3D scanning and modeling, 3D printing, and extended reality technologies. Working on various immersive scholarship- and digital humanities-based projects, including a self-curated exhibition, has made this one of the most memorable experiences of my graduate student career!

Continue reading My Time as the Immersive Scholarship Graduate Research Assistant