Welcome from Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries


Owlsley Dean Carol Hixson and Dr. Corey King Owlsley visits Reference

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the FAU Libraries Newsletter. In the year that I have been the Dean of University Libraries at FAU, I have worked with the faculty and staff of the Libraries to reimagine the libraries, to shape a new vision of library services. In this issue, you will have an opportunity to read about some of our efforts to reshape the FAU Libraries.

The vision of the FAU Libraries today is student-focused and service-centric. While our collections, particularly our rare and unique Special Collections, are still critically important, the worth of today’s library is not measured in the number of volumes it holds but rather in how effectively it can connect its users with the resources they need and help them analyze, critique, repurpose, and create. We are here to support the entire research cycle and help our faculty – and our students – develop and showcase their intellectual output.

We are reimagining our spaces, creating new kinds of physical and virtual spaces for students not only to study on their own but also to collaborate, to practice presentations, and to create their own creative works. The new physical spaces are technology-rich, multi-purpose, comfortable, and clearly identifiable as being part of FAU. In our determination to be actively engaged with all issues of importance to the University, our faculty, and our students, we will be striving to be the venue of choice for presentations, lectures, discussions, exhibits, and events. We are working to redesign our website so that it is easy to use, intuitive, and doesn’t make our users understand our organization in order to find what they need.

As we reimagine our spaces and services, we intend to earn the designation of being the heart of FAU by coming out from behind our desks and engaging our students and faculty where they are and on the issues that matter to them. We strive to play a leadership role within the FAU academic community and want the libraries to be the place where collaboration and partnerships are born and thrive. When we engage with the broader community, it will be in mutually beneficial ways so that we never lose sight of the importance of FAU’s students.

The FAU Libraries are and will continue to be a safe haven for people of all backgrounds, points of view, and interests. Holding true to our values, we will embody a culture of mutual respect and will celebrate the diversity of our students, our faculty, our staff and the community of which we are a part. Our goal is to blaze the path forward for diversity and inclusion. Read about some of our changes and join us in our reimagining of the FAU Libraries.

Top: Carol Hixson and Owlsley welcome students. Owlsley stops by the reference desk. Carol Hixson and Dr. Corey King. Refreshments and giveaways. By Pat Koppisch

Graduate Student Study Lounge Opens at Wimberly Library
By Carol Lewis West

Graduate students group study

Students in Graduate Study Lounge Private study in Graduate Study Lounge Group study in Graduate Study Lounge

Graduate students enrolled at Florida Atlantic University, as well as students within the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, now have an exclusive lounge in the Wimberly Library to study, relax or just hang out, thanks to the generosity of the University Club of the FAU Foundation.

The Graduate Study Lounge, repurposed from underutilized office and storage space, is tucked away on the west end of the second floor with access controlled by a student’s Owl Card. The lounge opens to a multi-purpose room that is set up with four side-by-side computer stations and collaboration space with a rolling conference table and matching chairs.

Three smaller rooms feature cubicles with partitions for privacy and compartments for storage. A larger sitting room has comfortable sofas and wide white tables with two wall-to-wall windows in the lounge offer natural light and a view of a palm tree-lined walkway of the College of Business and the Computer Lab. FAU colors on the walls and a sign with FAU’s mascot Owlsley adds to the ambience. Two PCs and two MACs are installed in the lounge, along with several electrical outlets and data ports, allowing students to connect to the Libraries’ electronic resources as well as to FAU’s suite of software tools.

"When University Club members indicated their desire to contribute to the Libraries, we presented them with the idea for a Graduate Study Lounge," said Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries at FAU. "This project is the ideal expression of the University Club’s commitment to the students of FAU and enabled the Libraries to address a critical need."

News of the exclusive study lounge is spreading quickly at FAU, where 6,000 American and international students come for graduate studies, and more than 100 graduate degree and graduate certificate programs are offered. A Graduate Student Life Task Force in 2015 recommended that FAU establish spaces on campus for graduate students, who have long expressed a need for quiet study space. There has been a steady flow of graduate students using the lounge since it opened in August.

“We are pleased and appreciative that Dean Carol Hixson spearheaded the opening of the Graduate Student Lounge in the Wimberly Library,” said Deborah L. Floyd, Ed.D., Dean of the Graduate College at FAU. "On behalf of our graduate students, thank you."

Amanda Chiplock, a senior medical librarian at FAU, said the lounge is conducive for student success among medical students and scholars.

"With a complex, integrated curriculum and board exams scheduled throughout their medical school career, medical students need a quiet study space to allow them to focus in a way that they may not have needed to during previous schooling," said Chiplock. "The Graduate Study Lounge offers just the place for intense study in a relaxed, comfortable environment."

Top photo: From left, Jessica Eaton, Trayven Call, Justin Chavez, Garrett Goode, Dakota Merchant and Savannah Davis check out the recently-opened Graduate Study Lounge on the west side of the second floor of FAU’s Wimberly Library. By Pat Koppisch

Collaboration Stations Connect FAU's Online Students
By Carol Lewis West


FAU’s Center for e-Learning has gifted collaboration stations to the Wimberly Library to provide its online student body the luxury of connecting with students physically located in the library. These stations also will give more options to large groups of students, faculty and others on campus who want to meet or study together.

The collaboration stations allow the online students, whose numbers have grown rapidly to about 13,000 students per semester, to collaborate from anywhere in real time to work on assignments or simply to chat with their peers in the Library, said Victoria Brown, Ph.D., assistant provost of eLearning at FAU.

The collaboration stations use a 50-inch HD flat screen along with technology to wirelessly connect and show the screens of up to four computers, laptops or smartphones. Using Skype or Google Hangouts, the off-campus collaborators on each end can see their peers as they converse with each other.

"Today’s students, whether they are attending class in person or at a distance, expect to have access to technology that enables them to work together," said Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries. "These workstations are an expression of a new vision of FAU Libraries that makes them a hub for students and faculty to come together for research, study, and the creation of new scholarship."

Photo: Brittni Johnson and Garrett Goode discuss online learning tools with Gus Rigas, an online student support instructional designer at FAU. Judy Sommers, an instructional designer at the Center for e-Learning, listens from the Center’s office on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. By Pat Koppish

The Human Library: One World, Many Stories
By Carol Lewis West


Florida Atlantic University Libraries will present “The Human Library: One World, Many Stories,” an event that encourages people from diverse backgrounds to share their experiences and stories to promote awareness and acceptance for the diversity of the human experience, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wimberly Library, Boca Raton campus.

The event mirrors The Human Library, an international movement that has spread to more than 60 countries since it was founded in Denmark in 2001.

“The Wimberly Library is a safe place to have positive conversations to challenge stereotypes and prejudices, or just to get to know another individual’s point of view,” said Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries at FAU.

One World, Many Stories, an inaugural event for the FAU Libraries, mimics real library browsing. A visitor to the Human Library can choose a Book to check out. The difference is that Books are people, and instead of reading, people have conversations. Book titles are created by people who volunteer to be Living Books.

Book “borrow” sessions, when the Books share information about themselves, will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event will also include multicultural performances and refreshments from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

For more information about “The Human Library: One World, Many Stories,” email or call 561-297-3717.

Courtesy of

Victoria Thur Promoted to Lead New Special Collections Unit
By Carol Lewis West


Victoria Thur, one of 42 librarians selected from throughout North America for this year’s American Library Association Leadership Institute, and a librarian at Florida Atlantic University since 2008, has been promoted to Interim Head of Special Collections, a newly reconstituted unit at FAU Libraries.

The unit that Thur oversees comprises Special Collections, the University Archives, Music Performance and Education, the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts and the Recorded Sound Archives.

Thur’s promotion comes as Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries, completes her first phase of strategies to transform the Libraries to better reflect the needs of students.

"This appointment recognizes Vicky Thur’s extensive accomplishments and leadership abilities," said Hixson. "Her passion for librarianship, FAU Libraries and FAU is contagious."

Thur knows the FAU Libraries not only from the perspective of a special collections librarian and University Archivist, having worked in that post for seven years prior to being promoted, but also from a student’s perspective.

A two-time FAU alumna, Thur earned her bachelor’s in history in 2000 and her master’s in history in 2006. While researching her thesis for her master’s, Thur discovered Special Collections and was enamored with the rare and beautiful cultural materials she found. Over the years, Thur has tirelessly promoted the collections, curated exhibitions from the collections, created tutorials and supervised internships. Now, she has a plan to move Special Collections forward.

"I would like to make Special Collections more open to students," said Thur. "We want to support graduate and undergraduate student research in any way we can."

Housed within Special Collections are some of the most uniquely valuable, beautiful, rare and surprising materials. Among them are rare books and manuscripts of national significance, one-of-a-kind artists’ books made by hand, journals, phonographs, pamphlets, antique maps and other ephemera.

"Collections are how libraries distinguish themselves," said Thur. "We have been very lucky to have wonderful people who want to share collections with us and the students. Every exhibit we have, we try to engage graduate or undergraduate students."

Thur’s own ties to the Wimberly Library stretch back to 1997, when she worked as a student assistant in the Reference and Government Documents departments. She became a full-time staffer in 2002 when she joined the Circulation Department, and in 2007, she worked periodically in the Digital Library.

Dawn Smith, now an assistant dean at FAU Libraries, supervised Thur as a student, recognized her potential and steered her toward librarianship.

After Thur received her master of arts in Library and Information Studies from the University of South Florida in 2008, she landed her first job as a librarian at none other than the Wimberly Library. Thur split her work week between the Reference and Digital Library departments.

"Vicky has grown, adapted and changed into a good leader throughout her library career," said Smith. "Her recent participation at the ALA Leadership Institute can only enhance her leadership skills as she takes on yet another new role as Head of Special Collections."

Victoria Thur by Pat Koppisch

Jane Strudwick to Launch Scholarly Communication Program 
By Carol Lewis West


Jane Strudwick, a veteran electronic resources librarian at Florida Atlantic University, is accepting input from FAU’s faculty and students to help determine services for a newly-established Scholarly Communication Program for the FAU Libraries.

The Scholarly Communication Program is intended to help steer scholars and faculty through the complex and controversial issues of publishing and disseminating scholarly works.

"I am very excited to bring my expertise in working with academic publishers to assist our researchers in controlling their work and in finding ways to make their research progress as easily as possible," said Strudwick, who was promoted recently to direct the program.

Four years after joining FAU Libraries in 2006, Strudwick became the electronic resources librarian. She managed the Libraries’ online collection of e-journals, e-books and databases as well as the integration of SearchWise/Summon, a web-scale discovery service that searches the Libraries’ resources. Strudwick also negotiated with major scholarly publishers to build online content and obtain advantageous licensing, and led a State University System library committee that managed a shared electronic resources collection.

While earning her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida, Strudwick developed expertise in other areas of librarianship, including reference, instruction and collection development, while continuing to manage electronic resources. She coordinated the Gifts Program, worked on the Reference desk, and helped to develop the Libraries’ social media program.

Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries at FAU, established the Scholarly Communication Program as she neared the end of her inaugural year. Her focus has been on transforming the Libraries to meet the needs of students more effectively and to support FAU’s goal of becoming the country’s fastest improving public research university.

"I have been a strong advocate for student and faculty research and scholarship throughout my career and saw an opportunity through Jane Strudwick’s appointment to ramp up the FAU Libraries’ support in this critically important arena," said Hixson. "With her extensive expertise gained as the electronic resources librarian for many years, she was the natural choice to lead this program."

For more information on the Scholarly Communication Program at FAU Libraries, visit or contact Jane Strudwick at or 561-297-0492.

Photo: Jane Strudwick by Pat Koppisch

Library delivers filtered water fountains following student requests
By Carol Lewis West


Tamara Toussaint, a Florida Atlantic University junior is among the first students to refill her water bottle at one of the Wimberly Library’s newly installed dispensers. The machine dispenses filtered water and measures how many bottles are saved from the landfill. Requests for the dispensers and water filters for drinking fountains came up repeatedly after Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries, gathered input from students about changes they wanted in the libraries.

"Our students spend long hours in the library and we want to offer them services and programs that will help them succeed,” said Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries. “We also want to show our students that we are listening to them as we work to transform our libraries.”

Photo: Tamara Toussaint by Pat Koppisch


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The Thrill of the Vote: Episodes in Democracy Exhibition:
through 11/18

Three Minute Thesis Events:
10/19 to 11/3

International Open Access Week Events:
10/24, 10/26 and 10/28

The Human Library: One World, Many Stories Event:

Mon.-Thur. - 7:40 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Friday - 7:40 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday - 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday - 12 p.m. - 2 a.m.

The library will be closed on Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), and Nov. 24 &  25 (Thanksgiving Holiday), Dec. 24 to Jan 1 (Winter Break). The library will resume normal operations on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.

Carol West,
Communications Specialist

Patricia Koppisch, 
Visual Communications Specialist
Cynthia Zulick,
Communications and Events Specialist

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Wimberly Library | Office of Carol Hixson, Dean of University Libraries