This is my final message as Dean of University Libraries at Florida Atlantic University. My final day as Dean is March 3, 2021.

Image of Lake Katepwa. Saskatchewan, Canada. My new home

Since taking over the leadership of the FAU Libraries in August 2015, my primary focus has been to redefine the culture of the Libraries, our place in the University, and the way we provide service to the FAU community. The key principles guiding me were: student-focused services, innovative use of technology to expand services, redesign of spaces to meet changing needs, comprehensive and sustainable access to scholarly content, a culture of inclusion that promotes diversity and equity, growth and leadership opportunities for library faculty and staff, and engagement with the broader community in mutually beneficial ways.

In service to the FAU community and in accordance with our strategic vision, the faculty and staff of the FAU Libraries have done great things together, in spite of inadequate support and funding. Many of those accomplishments have been described on this blog previously.

The FAU Libraries will continue to do great things under the leadership of Interim Dean of University Libraries, Amy Kornblau.

Ms. Kornblau received her Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida in 1996 and her bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Tampa in 1993. With 22 years of experience in the FAU Libraries, Ms. Kornblau has served as an Assistant Dean for the past 9 years. In addition to oversight of the Library’s Information Technology Services until 2019, she took on responsibility for Assessment (including IPEDS, ACRL, and SACS), Special Projects (such as Coordination of planning for the new Library Management System, as well as the Libraries’ Emergency Planning), and most recently oversight of Interlibrary Loan and Government Information and Maps. Her breadth of experience, as well as deep knowledge of FAU, position her to provide strong and effective leadership of the FAU Libraries in the Interim between my departure and the recruitment for a new Dean.

For information about the Libraries and library services, please visit the Libraries’ web site . For information about the Leadership of the Libraries please visit the page describing the Libraries’ Senior Leadership Team.

Wishing you all health, safety. happiness, and great success in the future.

Peace, Justice, and Human Rights and MLK Day

Today, January 18, 2021, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  As it explains on the AmeriCorps U.S. government’s web site, “The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is an official day of service and celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. AmeriCorps has been charged with leading this effort for the past quarter century.”

Today, on Martin Luther King Day, the single best piece of writing that I can think of to explain the non-violent approach to seeking change and justice can be found in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to take 10 minutes to read it. If you have read it, read it again. King preached and practiced non-violence, but he was not weak. He was confrontational. He made people uncomfortable. And he willingly paid the price for breaking, through peaceful protest, laws he believed were unjust. This is why we commemorate MLK. He stood up for what he believed – without the use of guns, without breaking down doors, without beating anyone or threatening people’s lives. And he did it before the existence of social media to get his message across.

01269rAbove: Martin Luther King, Jr. photographed by Marion S. Trikosko, 1964. LC-DIG-ppmsc-01269 Source: Library of Congress Continue reading

Spring Semester 2021 in the FAU Libraries

During the Spring 2021 semester, library faculty and staff will continue to serve the FAU community through a hybrid model of on-site and technology-enhanced services that ensure public safety while meeting the needs of FAU faculty and students.

Because health and safety guidelines regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus have not changed and the timeline for widespread vaccination is not yet determined, the FAU Libraries will continue to operate on a reduced schedule and with limited, socially-distanced seating and no direct access to book stacks. Access will continue to be limited to students and faculty of FAU and Palm Beach State College who have active OWL or Panther cards allowing them to swipe into the buildings.

Over the summer of 2020 and in the fall 2020 semester, we expanded concierge-style services in the Libraries to help people get the resources and help they need. We established virtual office hours for all hours that the buildings are open, set up contactless delivery lockers for people needing books, laptops, or interlibrary loan materials, set up a telepresence at service points staffed by live people, created more on-demand tutorials and videos so people can get help when they need it, 24/7, and much more. We also implemented a new mechanism, called OpenAthens, for people to be able to access the electronic books, journals, and databases the Libraries pay for, allowing people to search the open Internet and be brought seamlessly into the FAU virtual library for the information they need for their study, class projects, and research.

Since March 2020 to the end of the fall 2020 semester, the FAU Libraries have served thousands of FAU and affiliated students and faculty, as well as our local community. Our library faculty and staff have answered over 6000 emails, had live chats with over 1000 people, have provided answers and assistance over the phone almost 3000 times, and have had virtual meetings with over 600 library users. Our Web site has been used almost 1.5 million times, with our subject and course guides being used over 200,000 times. The electronic books, journals, and databases that we license for FAU students and faculty have been used over 476.000 times. We have lent out more than 2800 books and other items from our collections and processed more than 30,000 Interlibrary loan requests from August to December 2020.

Due to the pandemic, students have not been able to use our buildings as effectively or creatively as they have in the past. Since August 20, 2020 when we reopened our facilities, a little over 22,000 FAU students have used the physical libraries. In contrast, we had over 950,000 visits to the main library in Boca Raton in the 2018-2019 school year. We are looking forward to the future when our buildings can be fully reopened and students can use them for the highly collaborative, active-learning spaces that we have been designing them to be.


For an overview of what our services for the spring 2021 semester look like, please consult the Libraries Spring 2021 Guide. While we are hoping to bring more people back on site and expand face-to-face offerings, health and safety guidelines permitting, the hybrid model of service is expected to continue through the spring. Everyone hopes that the FAU Libraries, and the whole University, will be back to “normal” by fall 2021. We miss our students – who used to flock to the Libraries before the pandemic, as a place to collaborate and engage in active, group learning. We miss our co-workers. We miss interacting directly with the broader community.

Stay safe and we’ll see you in the spring 2021 semester.

Who We Aspire to Be

Today is Human Rights Day, being celebrated around the world. It is “observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

Unfortunately, there are some in our world who seek to exclude many people from basic human rights. On Tuesday in Boise, Idaho  the only memorial to Anne Frank in the United States was vandalized. Stickers with swastikas and the words “We are everywhere” were found affixed to different parts of the memorial. We cannot and will not allow Nazi cowards or other bigots to define who we are. Every time there is such an incident, we at FAU must stand up and speak out against it. By doing so, we will be in alignment with the Florida Board of Governors and with FAU’s President, as well as our own consciences.

In response to incidents of racial and ethnic violence and demonstrations of intolerance across the United States, the Florida Board of Governors established in June 2020 the SUS Workgroup on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I.), led by Board of Governors’ Vice-Chair Brian Lamb. In an October 22, 2020 memo, Brian Lamb, Chair, SUS Workgroup on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Vice Chair, Board of Governors and Marshall Criser, Chancellor of the State University System, stated that: “While acknowledging federal and state law, executive orders, and administrative guidance, the Board of Governors is making a clear and steadfast commitment to prioritize and support diversity, racial and gender equity, and inclusion in the State University System and to hold each university accountable for policies, programs, and actions that will codify and operationalize the System’s commitment. The Workgroup’s report was endorsed by the full Board at its November 5th meeting.” 

FAU President John Kelly has affirmed his personal and FAU’s institutional commitment to providing a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment many times. In a May  31, 2020 statement he noted that “Diversity and inclusion are part of Florida Atlantic University’s DNA.” On November 3, 2020, following a social media video that featured racist and offensive content, he sent a message to the entire FAU community in which he reiterated “how vital it is for us to come together in the face of hate and racism and to reaffirm our commitment to the long history of diversity and inclusion that sits at the heart of this great institution.” 

The FAU Libraries have affirmed their commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds and all points of view. One of our Strategic Goals is to play a “leadership role in promoting diversity and inclusion for the Libraries’ patrons and staff.”  To that end, over the past five years, we have developed programs, exhibits, and events to promote awareness of diversity and increase the acceptance and inclusion of everyone. Our efforts can be tracked on our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion landing page

Together, we must stand up to those who would divide us. Together, we must speak out against all acts of violence and intimidation. Together, we must model the people we aspire to be. 


Being Thankful

As everyone tells us almost every minute of every day, 2020 has been a tough year. Every one of us – students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community friends have been challenged. The challenges have been health-related, economic, emotional, educational. family, and everything else that affects our lives.

In spite of – or sometimes because of – these challenges, this year has also enabled us to develop and strengthen our appreciation for what we have and gives our lives meaning, satisfaction, and hope.

Within the FAU Libraries, we have much to celebrate and for which we are thankful. As Dean of the Libraries, I am thankful for:

  • Our ability to adapt so quickly and provide core services to our students and faculty.
    • Our Library Statistics in COVID-19 tells a short story of the thousands of people we have helped since mid March when COVID-19 hit: we have provided more than 22,000 interlibrary loans, made more than 350,000 electronic resources available, welcomed more than 21,800 visitors to our facilities since we reopened the buildings on August 20, helped more than 7800 people through phone calls, email, chat, and virtual consultations, and engaged with another 2400 people who took part in over 130 virtual presentations and events hosted by the Libraries.
    • Our innovative use of technology to serve the Libraries’ users in new and expanded ways, including more on-demand video content, live tracking of available study and computer spaces, and contactless delivery of ILL and circulating books through lockers located outside the library buildings in Boca Raton and Jupiter. Many of these tools will be used even after we return to “normal” and will allow us to expand access to services beyond normal building opening hours. More and more we are looking to provide broader access to a wider range of services without having to increase staffing.
  • The support and gratitude of every library faculty and staff member for their colleagues during this time. Popular wisdom says you have to love yourself before you can truly love someone else. I would say that our ability to continue to reach out and help our users effectively is due to how library staff and faculty have looked out for their colleagues, as well as FAU’s students and faculty, and offered help and support where needed.
    • That support is manifested through people stepping up to do new things, fill service gaps, and continue to help each other out with big and little things.
    • One of the most visible signs of this institutional gratitude is in our ongoing Shout Outs page where we celebrate library folks giving thanks for each other.
  • The survival of the Florida Virtual Campus beyond a budget veto so that we are able to continue to have an online catalog, interlibrary loan services, effective access to our electronic journals and databases, and a Digital Library that captures much of the University’s faculty and student scholarly output, as well as letting the world know about some of our gems.
  • Our ongoing commitment to our strategic principles, most notably a wide range of programming and partnerships to promote true diversity, equity and inclusion, as documented in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion landing page.
  • The many partnerships the Libraries have developed with units across campus to provide essential services to our students during this time of crisis. Three key partnerships in the past few months have been::
  • The safety precautions taken by the University and the compliance of students to keep us all safe during the pandemic.

So in this very strange Thanksgiving season, I wanted to say thank you to our students, our faculty, our staff, our University Administration, and our friends and supporters in the community. May we all stay safe. may we learn to appreciate the little things, and may we find ourselves stronger and simultaneously more sensitive to the needs of our small and large communities.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Being A First-Generation Student

What is a first-generation student and why does it matter? The Center for First-Generation Student Success provides a few definitions, including a federal definition that “first-generation students come from families where their biological parents did not complete a four-year college degree.” While the definitions vary, the reason the term is important is that it is believed that students who enter college without having a parent or other family member who attended college “implies the possibility that a student may lack the critical cultural capital necessary for college success because their parents did not attend college.”

I am a first-gen college student. My parents had a high-school education. Neither of my brothers went to college, nor did any of my aunts, uncles or cousins (save one who was much older and whom I barely knew). Looking back, I can clearly see that I did lack that “critical cultural capacity” that would have made it easier to be successful in college. I winged the cultural aspects of the college experience a lot. While I did not initially know I was at a disadvantage, I discovered it gradually as my friends and fellow students were suddenly taking advantage of opportunities that I didn’t even know existed –until it was too late for me.

I knew nothing about how college operated. This was also well before the time when most colleges had advisers. In those days, it was expected that you entered as a first-year student and you progressed through to graduation in exactly four years. Options were not impossible but they were also not widely advertised or encouraged. I signed up for classes that interested me, within the confines of my major requirements, and I worked hard, studied hard, and had some amazing learning opportunities, in and outside of the classroom.

But no one realized or thought about what I might not understand. No one realized, for instance, that I didn’t know anything about study-abroad programs and only learned about them when I noticed that some friends from my language classes were not there with me during my junior year because they were in Costa Rica, Moscow, or Frankfurt. No one knew, for instance, that I had never heard of graduate school and didn’t apply because I only found out about that mysterious next step as friends of mine suddenly announced in their last semester that they had been accepted into a graduate program at Cornell or Harvard or MIT. I was a scholarship student who also worked two to three jobs a semester to pay for the next semester’s tuition so I also didn’t have the time to hang out much in the student union or in clubs and learn about these things in informal conversations. I was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in my senior year without ever having heard about it before and without much of an idea of what it meant.

Looking back, I am nothing but grateful for the opportunities I had in college. Going to college was a dream that I had without any clear idea of what I wanted to become. I only knew that I was passionate about studying foreign languages and history. I only knew that I never wanted to stop learning. Going to college was essential for me to learn what I was capable of and it enabled me to start to carve my own special place in the world that was different from anything anyone else in my family had done.

As I have moved along in my professional career, I have never lost sight of my experience as a first-gen student at Grinnell College. My experience has motivated me to mentor others and to strive to make sure that the services we offer in the FAU Libraries are inclusive and supportive of people from all backgrounds. Many times as a first-gen student, I didn’t understand what was going on around me but I kept quiet and learned to absorb things without openly asking about them. Because of that experience, I want to make sure that the FAU Libraries can be navigated by anyone without them first having to understand how we do things. I want the FAU Libraries to be welcoming and friendly and for us to be able to meet students’ needs, no matter their starting point. I want our students to feel comfortable asking for help and finding that help in lots of different ways.


FAU’s Office of First-Generation Student Success “serves as a referral hub to the various services that exist to inspire and assist first-generation students at Florida Atlantic University, including academic support, advising, financial assistance and scholarships, mentorship, and the “First and Proud” registered student organization.” The Libraries work together with this office on a variety of initiatives throughout the year.

The Council for Opportunity in Education is promoting First-Generation Celebration Day on November 8, 2020, by encouraging “colleges and universities to celebrate the success of first-generation college students, faculty, and staff on your campus in any and every way possible.” This year, in honor of the national First-Generation Celebration Day, the FAU Libraries are celebrating the faculty and staff of the Libraries who were first-generation college students. We asked FAU Libraries’ folks them to contribute a picture from their college graduation and to state, in one sentence, why going to college was important for them. My college graduation picture is above. We hope that our personal stories will encourage today’s first-generation students to persevere and to know that there are many of us here who are dedicated to helping them be successful in their academic careers at FAU. To see some of those stories, check out our social media sites, including Facebook, Twotter, and Instagram.

We have also created a resource guide for First-Generation Students that is available at: . We want every first-generation student to know that the FAU Libraries are here to support them on their journey, wherever it may take them!

Reopening the FAU Libraries to Students and Faculty

Dear FAU Community,

After months of planning, reviewing safety guidelines produced by the CDC and the University,  and discussion with colleagues across the state and the nation to determine best practices, the FAU Libraries are preparing to reopen our facilities to FAU and Palm Beach State College students and faculty. Opening day for those patrons is tentatively scheduled for August 20, 2020.

We have been operating almost entirely remotely since the middle of March, providing a wide array of services virtually and a few in-person services by appointment. Many of these virtual and concierge style services outlined in our Lib2Go guide will continue, even after we reopen the buildings. All FAU students are able now to access all remote services, no matter which campus they call home.

Online Resources (2)

Due to health and safety guidelines and the deep and frequent cleaning of the public spaces inside the library buildings, the Libraries will not initially be able to serve as the collaborative gathering and active study place that we have worked so hard to make them into. This is a great disappointment to us and we look forward to getting back to the way things were as soon as possible.

The following is a summary of what the initial opening of the library buildings will look like:

  • Owl or Panther cards will be required for entry to FAU controlled library facilities; the general public will not be allowed in except by special appointment.
  • Hours in Boca Raton’s library will be Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and hours in Jupiter’s library will be Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Only the first floor of the libraries in Boca Raton and Jupiter will be open to visitors.
  • Since only the first floor will be open, the elevators and stairwells will not be available to visitors.
  • The HBOI library will be open to the HBOI community by card swipe access.
  • The use of face coverings of the nose and mouth will be required for entry, for service, and for the duration of time visitors spend in the buildings.
  • Because face coverings are required at all times, no food and drink will be allowed inside the facilities.
  • Dunkin Donuts in the Boca Raton library is closed until further notice.
  • Occupancy in Boca Raton and Jupiter will be limited strictly to allow safe social distancing. Numbers of occupants will be controlled through entry gates and specialized camera systems and software. When maximum safe occupancy is reached, visitors will be directed to other locations for study and access to computers.
  • Students are encouraged to limit their time in the library buildings so that other students will be able to come in and use the facilities. If demand consistently exceeds availability, it may be necessary to institute an appointment system for using the library.
  • All couches and communal seating have been removed to promote safe social distancing.
  • Many computer workstations have been disabled in order to ensure safe social distancing.
  • Fixed computer workstations in the libraries will reboot after two hours of use. Students should be prepared to save their work to the cloud or to a thumb drive. Signage in the computer labs, along with early warnings on the computer screen, will alert students to this. Students will be able to log back in more than once.
  • Many chairs and tables have been removed to ensure safe social distancing.
  • No access to the book stacks will be possible; books will need to be requested using an online form and will be delivered through low-contact or contactless delivery mechanisms.
  • No physical course reserves will be available.
  • Group study rooms will not be available for checkout.
  • Library faculty and staff will be available for phone, email, and virtual consultation but may not be present at the service desks, unless needed.
  • Instruction sessions will be available virtually, by appointment.
  • Visitors will need to use the available cleaning supplies to wipe down their seats and work areas before and after their use.
  • Printers and photocopiers will need to be wiped down by visitors before and after use.
  • Students in Davie should consult with Broward College’s University/College Library on in-person library services and hours. Students in Fort Lauderdale should consult with the Broward County Public Library for hours of operation and in-person services.
  • Members of the general public are encouraged to visit their public libraries for library services until such time as we are able to reopen our spaces for broader use.

As soon as it is safe and as soon as there is adequate staffing for keeping all areas clean and sanitized, we will try to open up more space and expand hours of operation. Bookmark our What to Expect: Fall 2020 website for the most current information.


We appreciate your patience and compliance with the University’s health and safety guidelines. We are here for our FAU and PBSC communities and look forward to continuing to serve you with energy, commitment, and creativity when the new semester starts.


Reimagining the Libraries Post COVID19

Since March 19, the FAU Libraries have been operating remotely, with the vast majority of services being provided virtually through email, phone, chat, video tutorials, online instruction, and virtual office hours, with the extensive suite of remote services being highlighted in our Lib2Go guide

Online Resources (2)

Checkout of laptops and other equipment for students in need has been handled through in-person delivery by appointment at library facilities. In spite of the fact that the vast majority of our partner libraries from whom we borrow materials have also been closed and are not lending physical items, interlibrary loan (ILL) services have continued unabated, with thousands of electronic articles being provided to FAU patrons in the past few months.

ILL staff have also been providing curbside delivery of items from our Boca library’s physical collections to FAU faculty throughout the entire COVID19 closure three times a week by appointment. Curbside delivery of materials from the Boca library’s physical collections was just recently expanded to be available to students as well as faculty. It was very well received and heavily used by students in the first week. If staffing and delivery options between campuses permit, we hope to be able to expand the service beyond the Boca campus library.


Curbside delivery for faculty and students in Boca

We have been able to continue serving the FAU community and facilitate their teaching, research and study by a creative redesign of services, underscored by our fundamental dedication to the success of our students and faculty. Even when we return fully to our physical facilities, we anticipate that many of these virtual services will continue, as they enable us to reach all users more effectively and provide more on-demand services.

The Deans and Directors of the libraries of the Florida State University System (Council of State University Libraries – CSUL) developed and approved on May 19 a set of  Guiding Principles and Assumptions about Reopening Physical Library Facilities post COVID19 Closure    While we all have different facilities, different university missions, and different student bodies, we have all been working in the past few years to develop library spaces that support both quiet, individual research and study as well as active, collaborative spaces. Large sections of today’s academic libraries have been intentionally designed as intensive, interactive learning spaces, where flexible design enables students to redesign spaces on the fly.


The fifth floor of the Wimberly Library designed for flexibility and high-intensity use

High usage of our facilities has been a point of pride. The fact that many students enter the libraries and spend hours at a time working and studying — alone in quiet zones or  together in collaborative spaces – has warmed our hearts. I have written about those very aspects in this blog space numerous times.


The fourth floor of the Wimberly Library – the quiet zone

Now, the very design features that enabled high-intensity, flexible, lengthy usage of our spaces are precisely those that will create the greatest challenges as we plan for bringing people back into our libraries before the pandemic is completely over. Many of us are feeling heartbroken at needing to exercise tight control over our spaces, at having to limit the number of people who can safely be in our spaces, at having to reduce flexibility in the way the facilities are used. This professional heartbreak is being played out in public libraries as well, as a recent New York Times article entitled Libraries Strive to Stay “Community Living Rooms” as They Reopen documents.


Students enjoying the new Diversity Burrow in the Wimberly Library

We have an entire section of our website that documents how we have “reimagined” the Wimberly Library on the Boca campus in recent years. As I was looking at this page the other day, I realized that we needed to reimagine our services for our new reality so that we can continue to meet the needs of our users while we have to (temporarily, we hope) enact restrictions for our physical facilities.


Dean Hixson trying out one of the seating options at the Jupiter Campus Library

The FAU Libraries have submitted a plan for reopening our physical facilities that is under review by the FAU University Administration to ensure that it meets health and safety guidelines and is in alignment with the University’s own plan for reopening in the fall, The University’s draft plan was just presented to the FAU Board of Trustees on June 12 and will be presented to the Board of Governors (BOG) in Tallahassee on June 23. Each university within the State University System of Florida has prepared its plan in accordance with the BOG’s Blueprint for Reopening Campuses.

As we get feedback on our plan for reopening the FAU Libraries’ physical facilities, we will share information widely with our students, faculty, and staff, as well as with the local community. We will need your input, your support, and your patience as we move forward.

Interlibrary Loan and Curbside Delivery

In March 2020, libraries all across the world unexpectedly shut down in response to the COVID19 pandemic.  But the research needs of our patrons didn’t stop. The FAU Libraries have been working almost entirely remotely since March 19, 2020, striving to provide services to our students and faculty non-stop, through online guides, virtual office hours, access to electronic content, online tutorials, and some focused in-person services, such as checking out laptops or wifi hotspots to students in need.  Many of these services are outlined in our Lib2 Guide.

When libraries around the world shut down due to the pandemic, the network that has been built up over decades to share books and other materials between libraries on behalf of their patrons also shut down. Under pre-COVID19 conditions, the FAU Libraries Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Department took pride in going the extra mile to obtain materials from all over the world for FAU’s faculty and students, including from all seven continents. It’s a testament to just how good our ILL staff are that we have had to explain to some faculty why we could no longer get that book they wanted from a library in Spain! While our staff are amazing, they haven’t yet figured out how to get books from closed libraries on the other side of the world.


ILL staff member retrieving a book from the stacks for curbside delivery

Our ILL staff developed innovative programming to increase awareness and use of ILL among FAU’s graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty.


ILL staff and Dean Hixson pre-COVID19 promoting interlibrary loan to FAU students

We also took pride in being able to lend out materials to other libraries around the world, being a “net lender” and contributing to one of the most effective worldwide collaborative ventures in the history of libraries.

With the pandemic shutting down libraries worldwide, the ILL community quickly organized across different social platforms to continue providing research materials to our patrons. FAU’s ILL staff have been part of making sure that people continued to have access to the scholarly content they need, in spite of libraries of all types being closed.

Since mid-March, they have filled hundreds of digital chapter and article requests for the FAU community, scanned scores of articles and book chapters located in our stacks for faculty, and have also provided digital materials to partner libraries and local, state, and Federal agencies (including the FDA).


ILL staff scanning an article to create a digital copy to lend

With most of the world’s libraries closed, it has been challenging to find libraries who can fill some of our digital borrowing requests, but they have. The staff liken themselves to ILL Commandoes, doing what needs to be done to get what our patrons need.


ILL staff practicing safe social distancing

While we have excellent collections of e-books, e-journals, and databases, we recognize that not everything is available electronically. For this reason, we have also provided curbside pickup  of books located in our stacks in the Boca library to faculty who fill out an online request using ILLiad.

69922111_10159058675863128_4613960220790489088_o Patrons search the catalog on the home page, find titles they want, request them using ILLiad, our ILL staff find the books in the stacks, check them out remotely to the requester, and then make appointments to deliver them to patrons three times a week.


The FAU Libraries curbside delivery of books from the Boca campus library.

This service is now being expanded to FAU’s undergraduate and graduate students. Requests can be made by following the instructions on this page. For now, this service is only available in Boca and only draws on the books in the Boca campus library.

The ILL Commandoes stand ready to help anyone who needs help! Email them at


Pre-COVID19 introduction to ILL services in the lobby of the Boca campus library


Standing Up for Racial Justice and Inclusion for All


I have written in this forum before  about how one of the core values of the FAU Libraries, and in fact all libraries. is to support diversity and inclusion for all. It is one of seven strategic goals  for the FAU Libraries, reaffirmed in November 2019, where we pledged to “Enhance the libraries’ leadership role in promoting diversity and inclusion for the Libraries’ patrons and staff.”


Progressive Black Men’s Poetry and Pajamas evett in the library October 9, 2019

As nice as those words are, and as much as we have worked sincerely to promote tolerance, awareness, and inclusion through our library programs and services, it is not enough. The death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests and reaction to those protests have made it clear that much more is needed.


It is time for a call to action, as we heard this week from the Board of Governors (BOG) of the State University System of Florida. In an open letter to all faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the State University System, the BOG  stated that “It is time for everyone to examine the inequities in our society, recognize the conditions that have created those inequities, and work to repair the racial divide and restore equal justice for all Americans.”  In this same letter, they went on to say, “As a powerful and influential voice in Florida, it is time for the State University System, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to actively engage in finding solutions to peacefully eliminate racism and discrimination.  This will be a critical mission of our twelve state universities, as it is our duty as societal leaders to help end prejudice and to promote social justice for all.”

On May 31, FAU’s President John Kelly sent a message to all members of the FAU community where he said:

“Diversity and inclusion are part of Florida Atlantic University’s DNA. We all should be proud that FAU is one of the most culturally diverse universities in the country.

For this reason, among many others, it can be difficult to make sense of violence on the streets of America’s cities that is fueled by racism, ignorance and hate. Needless killings, like that of George Floyd in Minneapolis, can be particularly hard to fathom.

FAU condemns all acts of violence. It is vital we come together in the face of ignorance and hate peacefully. As a center of higher learning, FAU is a place of dialogue and thought, and where ideas are nurtured.

As we continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19, we must not lose focus of what is right and just, but we must do so in a respectful and considerate way. We all must consider our actions in our daily lives and how these actions, no matter the intentions, may affect those around us.”

The past few months have been so hard for us and everyone else in the country, and the world.  I thought that my heart was broken with the loss that we have all been experiencing. It turns out, I didn’t really know what it means to have a broken heart.

I didn’t know how much more of my heart remained to be broken until the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 and the subsequent protests, riots, and ongoing expressions of hatred and violence cropping up throughout the country, from all levels of society.

Because we need to mend many broken hearts and because we have been enjoined to do this by the Board of Governors and FAU’s President John Kelly,  I pledge to do my personal best in these efforts. and to encourage everyone in the FAU Libraries to do better and to be better. The only way I can go on is to fight with every ounce of my being for fairness, equity, inclusion, justice. And simple kindness. As  President Kelly said, Diversity and inclusion are in FAU’s DNA. It is a point of pride for us. But we must do more to ensure that all students and faculty are able to enjoy the benefits of being a member of the FAU community. We have much more work to do.

I leave you with the following statement from a prominent social scientist who sought to explain why “Black Lives Matter. ” It may help to explain the anger and frustration exploding around us for those of us who have never lived with it on a daily basis.

“But then, if it’s the case that we can care about citizens and the police, shouldn’t the rallying cry just be All Lives Matter? No. because the humanity wasn’t stripped from all lives the way it was stripped from the lives of black citizens. In order for slavery to work, in order for us to buy, sell, beat and trade people like animals, Americans had to completely dehumanize slaves. And whether we directly participated in that or were simply a member of a culture that at one time normalized that behavior, it shaped us. We can’t undo that level of dehumanizing in one or two generations. I believe Black Lives Matter is a movement to rehumanize black citizens in the hearts of those who have consciously or unconsciously bought into the insidious, rampant, and ongoing devaluation of black lives. All lives matter, but not all lives need to be pulled back into moral inclusion. Not all people were subjected to the psychological process of demonizing and being made less than human so we could justify the inhumane practice of slavery.”  Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness, Random House, 2017, p. 59


Be well and safe, everyone.