Jan Sauer to Retire June 30; Party June 25

JanJan Sauer began her career as Instructional Services Librarian at the University of South Alabama Library on January 15, 1992. Now, after 17 ½ years, she is retiring. Jan has taught thousands of classes during that time, and says “My favorites were the ones where the students because of diversity, attitude, and viewpoints were willing to challenge me.” She regards teaching as not about passing along information but about changing attitudes and cites her favorite quote “If I didn’t believe it with my own mind, I never would have seen it” to show the importance of helping students get to the place where they are able to "see" differently.

Jan has been active in publishing, co-authoring one book, David Mamet : A Research and Production Sourcebook, and contributing chapters to The Cambridge Companion to David Mamet and The Cambridge Companion to August Wilson, all in collaboration with husband David Sauer.

In retirement Jan plans to “garden, play with my iPhone, become expert in Photoshop, do creative things with typography, and continue to work on Mamet scholarship.” She also will take advantage of the opportunity to help her son and daughter-in-law, Jeremy and M.J. Sauer, with M.J.’s work rehabbing buildings in New Orleans. She especially looks forward to spending more time with granddaughter Quinn Lillian and son and daughter-in-law Geoffrey and Alisha Sauer in Ames, Iowa. Jan’s immediate plans include a visit to daughter Ellen Sauer in Seattle and a trip to the California wine country.

A retirement reception will be held for Jan on Thursday, June 25th at 3 p.m. in Room 181 of the University Library.

News from the Archives

In the last newsletter we told you about our efforts to save two of our larger photographic collections: those of Wilson C. Burton and Wilbur F. Palmer. Part of those efforts included applying for a $5,000 NEH grant to bring in a conservator to survey those collections. The Archives is pleased to announce that on December 8, 2008, the NEH awarded us that grant. The conservator traveled to Mobile in early March 2009 and spent three days surveying our facility and the two collections. His report was received in late April and, based on it, we have now applied to the NEH for a separate grant to purchase materials to re-house, organize, and describe the two collections. A decision on the second grant is expected this December.

In conjunction with the same project, the Archives applied to the state Historical Records Advisory Board (ASHRAB), which is administered by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, for an additional $2,500 grant on January 10, 2009. Funds for the ASHRAB grant are channeled to them from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. The funds are provided to state repositories holding valuable material related to Alabama. The grant was awarded and supplies to begin the project have been purchased.

Mobile ShipsOver the summer and into early fall, student assistants will re-house approximately 80 percent of the Wilson Burton collection. Already we are finding gems within it. At the conclusion of this portion of the project, USA Archives will undoubtedly hold one of the largest collections of photographs of African-Americans in this region.

In other news of note: one of the most frequent patron requests we receive is “Do you have a photo of my/my mother’s/ father’s/grandparents’ house/business.” So, we take great pride in being able to announce the opening of the Mobile Historic Districts Negative Collection. Last May, the Mobile Historic Development Commission (MHDC) deposited at the Archives 35,000 primarily black-and-white negatives. MHDC is the city agency charged with the preservation and protection of historic buildings in Mobile. Although most of the images are of structures within the city’s historic districts, there are also many showing buildings in outlying areas of the city as well as in parts of the Eastern Shore. Contact sheets for most of the images are available, as is a database to the collection, the latter of which was thirteen months in the making. For more information about the collection or to see if we have an image of a property of interest to you, please call us at 434-3800 or email us at archives@southalabama.edu.


Students and faculty at USA can now access ArchiveGrid, an online guide containing almost one million descriptions of archival collections from thousands of repositories around the world. ArchiveGrid provides collection descriptions, varying in scope, as well as repository contact information. USA Archives has submitted its collection of finding aids, which are scheduled to be incorporated into the site beginning May 31. 

The site also provides a link to “ArchiveGrid Topics,” a list of subject headings found within the collection descriptions. Be aware, however, that the topic list is not exhaustive since not all archives include subject headings in their finding aids. Another thing to keep in mind is that the ArchiveGrid index can get out of sync with web site addresses if they are changed or altered between the index updates. This can make it appear as if a link is broken but that may not necessarily be the case. Those problems aside, ArchiveGrid is sure to be of help to both students and faculty, regardless of discipline.

For more information and for search strategies, please call the USA Archives at 434-3800 or email us at archives@southalabama.edu.

University Library's Materials Budget Hard Hit

The financial crises affecting the budgets of nearly every country, company, and academic institution also affected the University Library’s materials budget at USA this fiscal year. Hardest hit was the budget for monographic materials such as books, CDs, and DVDs.  Two fiscal years ago, the monographic budget was about $300,000 and this fiscal year it was less than half that amount.  A number of print journal subscriptions were cancelled because we have electronic access to the content through a full-text database license.

Next fiscal year’s materials budget is not yet fixed, but it seems to be a foregone conclusion that it will not improve. Some librarians who responded to a periodicals price survey in the April 15, 2009 Library Journal  expect at least two to three years of budget cuts in materials. Word out of Montgomery is that sales tax revenues are likely to remain flat; therefore, an increase in the library’s materials budget to cover the anticipated inflationary increases of 6% to 8% for subscriptions and databases is not likely.

Libraries and library consortia have already begun to declare financial hardship clauses in their contracts with periodical and database vendors in order to cancel subscriptions and licenses. Consortia, including the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries or NAAL, have called on vendors to offer discounts. The Association of Research Libraries and the International Coalition of Library Consortia warned publishers in early 2009 that budget cuts in libraries should induce them to offer deep discounts in order to maintain orders from libraries.

These large for-profit publishers, such as Elsevier and Wiley, know that the “big deals” negotiated with larger academic libraries and library consortia are not sustainable, yet they are not willing to discount products like ScienceDirect which eat up a huge proportion of academic library budgets.  Academic libraries and consortia have begun, and will continue, to look at the tremendous cost of “bundled packages” such as ScienceDirect and SpringerLink because these packages are consuming ever larger percentages of libraries’ materials budgets. Thus far at USA, the libraries have been able to maintain our access to bundled packages, as well as keep our access to journals through print or electronic subscriptions.

 If you have feedback, please do not hesitate to contact me at rwood@bbl.usouthal.edu

National Library Week

National Library Week


The National Library Week book drive for the USA Children's and Women's Hospital was an impressive success with close to 1000 donations . About 10 book reviews were posted on Twitter. The display of the 100 finest films generated 22 check outs and 2 holds as well as many written comments from patrons.

Guest speakers for NLW were  Sue Walker and Kate Seawell  who presented Reuben’s Mobile.

Excellence in Librarianship Award

Deborah HarringtonDeborah Harrington, Business Librarian at the Mitchell College of Business, received the Excellence in Librarianship Award on April 14, 2009. She was nominated for the outstanding and professional job she has done in setting up and running the MCOB Library. Deborah holds both a B.S. in Personnel Administration & Industrial Relations and a Master of Business Administration from USA as well as a Master of Library and Information Service from the University of Alabama. She has over 11 years experience as a business librarian and has also served as an instruction coordinator and Web master. Her research interests include online learning/communication, staff development and project management.

Staff Appreciation Awards

Brenda Hunter and Nancy Trant received this year's National Library Week "Staff Appreciation Awards" in the University Library during a luncheon on Wednesday, April 15. Brenda is an Acquisitions and Cataloging technical assistant and has been at the Library for 25 years. Nancy is a Serials technical assistant and has been at the Library for approximately 30 years. Both Brenda and Nancy are much appreciated for all the hard work they have given to the library during the past year.

Nancy Trant
Brenda Hunter
Nancy Trant     Brenda Hunter


Picturing America

Picturing AmericaThe University Library at USA is one of the recipients of the Picturing America award, a project of the “We the People” program of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), distributed in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA).  Picturing America is a new initiative from NEH to bring masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide.  It is hoped that this innovative program will allow students and citizens a chance to gain a deeper appreciation of our country’s history and character through the study and understanding of its art. 

“This nation’s artistic heritage—through paintings, sculpture, architecture, fine crafts, and photography—offers unique insights into the character, ideals, and aspirations of our country.  By bringing high-quality reproductions of notable American art into public and private schools, libraries, and communities, Picturing America gives participants the opportunity to learn about our nation’s history and culture in a fresh and engaging way.  The program uses art as a catalyst for the study of America—the cultural, political, and historical threads woven into our nation’s fabric over time.”—from the Picturing America web site

Picturing America award materials include forty images mounted on twenty double-sided, laminated posters for display and classroom use, as well as a companion teacher’s resource book.  The resource book is available in Documents Stacks [NF 3.8:AM 3 X/guide] while the posters are shelved in their handy carrying case in the Document Oversize shelves.  Both will be available for check-out after they are no longer on display at the library.

For more information about Picturing America, see the September/October 2007 issue of HUMANITIES (v. 28, no. 5), which is available on-line or in the library [Docs NF 3.11:28/5], or check out the website: http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/  In addition, there is a richly-illustrated companion book of essays that provide historical context and background to the artwork. This book, PICTURING AMERICA, [Docs NF 3.2:AM 3/8] was one of the 2008 Notable Government Documents honorees in the federal documents category (see LIBRARY JOURNAL, May 15, 2009 issue for more information).

For more information, contact Vicki Tate at vtate@southalabama.edu or 251-460-7024.

New SciFinder Scholar Access

SciFinder Scholar access at the University of South Alabama has changed from the dedicated client software to a web browser-based version. The new version can be used with any web browser so it is no longer necessary to download special software to use Scifinder, and remote access is now much easier to use.

SciFinder access is only available to University of South Alabama faculty and students. To use the new access, faculty and students should go to the Library webpage at http://library.southalabama.edu and choose “Articles, Indexes, and Databases”, then scroll down the Databases Listed by Title to SciFinder Scholar. Click on “SciFinder Scholar – Register for Access” for information and links to register with CAS. After the patron fills out and submits the registration form, CAS will send an e-mail message with instructions for completing registration. This message will only be sent to a University of South Alabama e-mail domain so patrons MUST use their USA e-mail addresses when registering.SciFinder Scholar

Once patrons receive their login names and passwords they should always go to the Library's Articles, Indexes, and Databases webpage to logon to SciFinder. Even with a SciFinder user name and password, patrons must logon from a University IP address. This means that off campus patrons must logon through our proxy server before they can logon to SciFinder. Using the links on the Library's pages insures this.

For more information, contact Amy Prendergast at aprender@southalabama.edu

Librarians' Professional Activity


Muriel Nero and Vera Finley presented a USA Library workshop entitled Basic Functions in Voyager 6.1 Cataloging Module on December 9, 2008.

Muriel Nero was re-elected Secretary/Treasurer of Technical Services & Systems Round Table (TSSRT) of the ALLA.

Ellen Wilson co-presented, with Dr. Jeffrey Blankenship, the paper, "Teaching Writing and Research Skills in an Undergraduate Public Administration Class," at the Southern Political Science Association meeting in New Orleans, January 8-10, 2009.

Ellen Wilson is the current secretary of the AAACRLlabama Association of College and Research Libraries (AACRL) and serves on the Executive Board.

Paula Webb gave five public service presentations on government publications and Google applications at the Semmes Public Library, one at the Semmes Senior Center, and one at the Mobile Public Library in 2009.

Paula Webb gave a USA Research Forum poster session on the new Government Documents web site, April 3, 2009.

Paula Webb published “Looking for an Automobile? Let the Government Help you Deal with the Dealer.” Documents to the People, vol. 37, no. 2, Summer 2009.

Amy Prendergast became chair of the Faculty Senate Evaluation Committee and continues as the Faculty Senate webmaster.

Amy Prendergast and Debbie Cobb are on the Library School Association Board for the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Alabama.

Kathy Wheeler is the current newsletter editor for the Alabama Association of College and Research Libraries (AACRL) and serves on the Executive Board.

Kathy Wheeler will be attending ALA Annual in Chicago as the current co-chair of the ACRL STS Subject and Bibliographic Access to Scientific Materials committee.