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New University Librarian and Dean of MLIS Program

by Ginger Williams on May 31, 2012 in Odum Library

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Alan Bernstein as Odum Library’s next university librarian and dean of the Master in Library and Information Science program!


From http://www.valdosta.edu/news/releases/bernstein.052512:

Alan Bernstein To Lead VSU’s

Odum Library Into The Future

VALDOSTA — Effective July 1, Dr. Alan Bernstein will be Valdosta State University’s new university librarian and dean of the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) Program.

“I am very excited,” he said. “I appreciate the search committee’s trust in me, and I am anxious for the opportunity to take the library forward. I love the library. I love the people who work for the library.”

In 2011, Bernstein was appointed interim associate university librarian and made responsible for all areas of Odum Library, as well as the administration, leadership, and management duties for the MLIS Program.

“Being associate university librarian was the next step up for me in my career,” said Bernstein, who first joined the Odum Library team in 1990 as a library assistant and worked his way up through the ranks as opportunities became available.

“Dr. Bernstein brings a wealth of experience and leadership to this position,” said Dr. Louis H. Levy, interim VSU president. “Libraries are changing; they are no longer just a repository of books, journals, and educational publications. They continue to evolve as the academic hub of activity and serve as the focal point for research and scholarly endeavors for students, faculty, and the broader university community.”

Bernstein began his career at Valdosta State College as a student in 1978. He and his family had, just one year earlier, relocated from their home in New Jersey to South Georgia, and he wanted to study philosophy.

Before discovering his passion for working in a library, he said, “My goal was always to remain in academia. I really enjoyed the idea of working on a college campus.”

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1981, Bernstein moved to California to pursue graduate studies. He spent a couple of years working as a teaching associate in the Philosophy Department at the University of California in Irvine, Calif. By 1984, he realized he did not want to pursue his philosophy studies any longer.

“Teaching, however, was still on my mind,” he said.

Bernstein returned to Valdosta State in 1985 and worked as a part-time instructor in the Philosophy Department until 1993. Five years into that teaching job, he came across an advertisement for a part-time job in Odum Library.

“Working that job while I went back to school convinced me I wanted to stay in the library,” said Bernstein, who worked as a library assistant at the circulation desk until 1993. “I told the director that I would forget all about teaching if he could get me a full-time job in the library.”

Bernstein went on to spend the next decade working as circulation manager in the library.

“Working in Circulation was great,” said the self-described lifelong student who earned a Master of Education in secondary education in 1992, a Master of Arts in history in 1995, and a Master of Library and Information Science in 2003, all from Valdosta State. “It’s a public service. I was able to work closely with students and learn what they were studying, what they were reading, listen to their stories ….”

“I jumped at the chance to get a library degree,” he added. “I was the second person to graduate from the program, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

In 2003, Bernstein was named associate professor of library science and circulation librarian. Six years later, he graduated with yet another degree from VSU, this one a Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction. His dissertation was titled “The Nether World of Academic Librarians: Issues of Classification, Educative Mission, and Sense of Place.” His areas of scholarly interest and publication include library patron services and library administration.

“I knew that someday I wanted the chance to lead the library,” he said, “so I pursued the doctoral program. I knew that I really liked the library and enjoyed the work and had no plans of leaving.”

Having grown up at Valdosta State and in the Odum Library, Bernstein said that he has a real feel for the campus community’s past, present, and future. He understands the university’s commitment to students, faculty, and staff and believes that ongoing relationship will only enhance his ability to serve library patrons and MLIS Program personnel and students.

Bernstein has worked in a variety of positions in the library, from the lowest to the highest and has a vested interest in fostering the growth of library employees, from students to staff to faculty. His accomplishments as interim associate university librarian include encouraging and overseeing a record number of funding pool proposals that have resulted in new classrooms, digital signage, and two new fine arts materials rooms for the library, and overseeing the creation of a successful plan for the MLIS Program to remove the “conditional” from its American Library Association accreditation.

Bernstein is married to Deborah Davis, certified archivist and director of Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections. They first met as students on campus in the 1980s and have been married 14 years.

For more information, please contact Dr. Alan Bernstein, university librarian and dean of the Master of Library and Information Science Program, at (229) 333-5860 or at abernste@valdosta.edu.

On the Web:

by Jessica R. Pope
Communications Specialist

For Memorial Day

by Emily Rogers on May 25, 2012 in Odum Library

Patriotic song collection, courtesy the Music Division, Library of Congress

Monday, May 25, 2012 is Memorial Day in the United States. Learn about the history of Memorial Day, which began as Decoration Day in 1868, just three years after the end of the Civil War.

View digitized collections of patriotic song music from the Library of Congress Music Division.

Listen to and read the stories of veterans’ experiences of war at the Veterans History Project, also from the Library of Congress.

The Veterans Administration provides the Nationwide Gravesite Locator, a search site for locating the burial locations of veterans. Complete records for military cemeteries are available, and records for burials in private grounds are available back to 1997.

From USA.gov, learn more about flying the United States flag, volunteering to help veterans and their families, and sending mail and care packages to those overseas in military service.

Please remember that Odum Library, along with the rest of Valdosta State University, is closed Memorial Day.

We'll Be Closed Memorial Day

by Maureen Puffer-Rothenberg on May 24, 2012 in Odum Library

Odum Library will close at midnight on Sunday, May 27th.

We’ll be closed Monday the 28th (Memorial Day).

The Library returns to its regular hours on Tuesday, May 29th– doors open Tuesday at 8:00 AM.

Have a great holiday weekend!




Summer registration starts June 4th! The Registrar’s Summer 2012 Registration Guide is here (opens as a .pdf)


American Wetlands Month

by Emily Rogers on May 11, 2012 in Government Documents, Odum Library, Reference

May 1-31 is the national observation of American Wetlands Month.  Georgia’s six coastal counties have plenty of wetlands:  804,228 acres, encompassing 1,256 square miles, reports the National Wetlands Inventory conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  The National Wetlands Inventory site also provides a wetlands mapper with a list of frequently asked questions for viewing and downloading wetlands data.

Aerial view of Georgia salt marsh, from the Coastal Resources Division, Georgia DNR

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources describes wetlands as “areas covered with a layer of water for some period of time that have waterlogged soils and plant species which grow only in those wet areas,” according to the spring 2012 issue of  Georgia Sound, the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division newsletter. Georgia’s coast is made up of both salt and fresh water, with 368,484 acres of salt marsh and 432,660 acres of freshwater wetlands.

The Georgia Land Conservation Program describes ways that landowners and other citizens can help conserve Georgia’s coast, wetlands, and other green spaces. For even more definitions and information about wetlands maintenance and regulation, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s site Where Water Meets Land. The closest wildlife refuge to VSU is the Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located in nearby Lanier County, and a great place to view freshwater wetlands.

Closeup view of Georgia salt marsh, Coastal Resources Division, Georgia DNR

Much more about wetlands in Georgia and across the country appears in the 2011 Fish & Wildlife Service report Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States, 2004-2009. You can also check out this publication and plenty of other government documents about wetlands in print from Odum Library’s Federal and Georgia documents collections. Just contact the government information librarian at 229-245-3748 or ecrogers@valdosta.edu.



Just for Faculty: What's an Embedded Librarian?

by Ginger Williams on May 7, 2012 in Odum Library

What’s an embedded librarian?

An embedded librarian is a librarian that is enrolled in a BlazeVIEW course to provide research assistance to students. An embedded librarian can:

  • Prepare research tips
  • Answer student questions about using library resources
  • Help students distinguish between popular and scholarly resources
  • Develop tutorials for using online databases

An embedded librarian can have a presence in your BlazeVIEW class for up to two weeks. The experience is best for the students when you work with the embedded librarian to discuss what topics you’d like them to cover. We are happy to collaborate with you to customize this experience as much as possible for your course.

What do my students get out of it?

Students taking online classes often do not have the opportunity to visit the library, much less participate in a library instruction session. These students may not be aware of the resources available to them. With a librarian embedded in a course, students discover the wealth of resources they can use and receive help that is customized to their research needs. By the end of the semester, the students are more familiar with library resources and have made a lasting connection with one of our librarians. We often find that once students get to know one of the librarians they will return to them for help in the future.

What do students say about it?

Each semester we survey students who had an embedded librarian in their course. Here are what some of those students had to say:

“It was very nice to have a librarian like that in our classroom. Especially when we have to find journals.”

“I found her services very helpful and as I read some of the posts, learned a few things to further my researching.”

What do faculty members say about it?

“Thanks for the service, having an embedded librarian is a great form of outreach and support.”

“One student located articles with the help of the EL in a very specialized journal and obtained them through ILL. Her proposal was much enriched by the articles and she never would have found these on her own.”

“Thank you for your help. I believe it was important to add this element to the course.”

“She covered exactly what my students needed.”

Make a Request

If you would like to make a request, please complete the online form here. If you  would like more details, feel free to contact Ginger Williams, the Outreach Services Librarian.


Encyclopaedia Britannica

by Howard Carrier on May 4, 2012 in Odum Library

Encyclopaedia Britannica


The Odum Library recently took delivery of something, which marks the end of 244 years of publishing history: a final print edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

According to a recent news story from The Guardian, we are lucky to have obtained this encyclopedic set. The newspaper reports that, “Sales staff at the 244-year-old publisher have been inundated with orders…with almost 175 copies selling a day since it was announced last month that print editions of the encyclopedia would be discontinued.”

Why are so many individuals (and libraries) keen to get their hands on a last print edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica? Obviously there are book collectors, by whom such a set will be valued – additionally, there may be a certain nostalgic appeal to the print version of this resource. However, I think the actual reason goes a little deeper. One of Britannica’s enduring qualities is the authoritative nature of the articles it contains, authored by experts in the various areas of scholarship found within the encyclopedia’s pages. Presumably this will not change as the print edition is wholly supplanted by the (continuing) online edition.

However, I’d argue that the print edition provides something which a periodically updated online version cannot: a “snapshot” (for want of a better term), of the state of knowledge that existed at the time the books, themselves, were printed. As time passes, it seems that an older edition of Britannica quietly assumes the role of an archive of intellectual understanding of the world, in addition to retaining its primary function of being a reference resource, (notwithstanding the reality that care must be taken when using it for this latter purpose – the oft-quoted observation that a print reference book is out of date the moment it rolls off the presses is, technically, true).

As an example, one precursor to our new set of Encyclopaedia Britannica is the famous 1911 edition. Owing to the fact that this was published prior to 1923, and is now within the public domain, you may find full-text versions of the 1911 Britannica hosted via open access resources such as Project Gutenberg. The 1911 version is particularly noteworthy for the quality of its prose, and the fact that some of the most learned people of that time served as contributors (a famous example being the physicist, Ernest Rutherford).

As our new set of Encyclopaedia Britannica finds its way onto the shelves of the Odum Library’s reference collection, it is curious to think that it will not only serve Valdosta State University students and faculty of today as an invaluable reference resource, but will continue to be used by Odum Library patrons decades hence.

You will find Encyclopaedia Britannica on the 2nd floor of the library, shelved within the reference collection at: REF AE5 .E363 2010 The library’s catalogue record for this resource can be located using GIL-Find@VSU: http://gilfind.valdosta.edu/vufind/Record/722064

Should you need help in locating or using Encyclopaedia Britannica, then please ask the Reference Librarian on duty at the reference desk for assistance.