ATG Interviews: Audrey Powers, Associate Librarian, University of Florida
ATG Inter views: Audrey Powers, Associate Librarian, University of Florida
Katina Strauch 0 1
Against the Grain 0 1
Against the Grain 0 1
0 Associate Librarian, University of South Florida , USA
1 Associate Librarian, University of South Florida , Tampa Library 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620-5400 Phone: (813) 974-9001 • Fax: (813) 974-5153 , USA
Follow this and additional works at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/atg Part of the Library and Information Science Commons Recommended Citation
Together, we can drive
successful research outcomes.
ATG: Audrey you will be editing the April
issue of Against the Grain that will be entitled
“Disappearing [print] Stacks.” What led you
to take on this challenge?
AP: I am intrigued by the controversy that
surrounds the issue of repurposing library
spaces and reducing the footprint of books. It
is a contentious issue that generates passionate
dialogue among the stakeholders involved.
ATG: What major issues/concerns do you
plan to cover?
AP: I am leaving this up to the authors.
They represent large and small academic
libraries. Included in this issue will be eclectic,
thought-provoking articles, opinion pieces,
and case studies. I anticipate many issues,
concerns, and opinions will emerge from both
practical points of view as well as passionate
ATG: From what you’ve learned so far
what are the key arguments for re-purposing
the space currently being used for books
ATG Interviews Audrey Powers
AP: A key argument for repurposing
library space used for books is that many
libraries are collecting more and more
electronic resources; thus, freeing up floor space.
In reality, the key reason to repurpose library
When the ability to discover, access, and
manage vetted, reliable information is critical,
you have good reason to be confident in
ProQuest. We are teamed up to deliver the
authoritative content, critical metadata, and
vital management tools needed by today’s
innovating libraries. So you can put researchers
on the clear and simple path to knowledgeand
results, every step of the way.
space is to address the changing needs of the
community the library serves.
ATG: What strategies are libraries using
to implement such changes?
AP: My hope is that libraries are taking into
consideration all aspects of the issue including
being cognizant of the use of library resources,
trends in publishing, topics in collection
development and management, and most
importantly, the needs of the community being served.
ATG: Has there been any resistance to this
trend from librarians, faculty, or students?
AP: There is resistance when the
community affected determines their needs are not being
addressed. If they decide their needs are being
neglected, protests will follow, as was the case
at Colby College.
There is an historical belief that the
academic library is the “center” of learning, the
central place on campus, the center of the
academy, and a contemplative place. When
that perception is disrupted, there is dissention
in the academy.
continued on page 42
Interview — Audrey Powers
from page 41
ATG: If so, what are their counter
AP: Counter arguments include the
perception that there is a preference for eBooks,
although I am not convinced this is accurate. It
may be an economic issue for some academic
libraries. Of course, it depends on what kind
of academic library, the mission of the library,
funding, staffing issues, leadership values, etc.
It goes back to the argument in favor of
PatronDriven Acquisitions: just in time instead of
just in case.
ATG: In her article “Save Our Stacks”
which appeared in Slate, Rebecca Schuman
argues that book stacks are “the creators and
the preservers of the contemplative space that
every university needs.” From what you are
seeing from your contributors is this a
AP: Interesting question. I will leave that
up to you, the reader, to determine if this is
ATG: Recent numbers from Nielsen
Books & Consumer show that eBooks were
outsold by both hardcovers and paperbacks in
the first half of 2014. From your observation,
do such figures call into question the trend
toward disappearing book stacks? Or are they
merely a blip on the radar screen?
AP: This is difficult question to answer.
In the academic environment, my observation
is that your discipline dictates your format
preference based on which format best suits
your research needs.
Leisure reading is quite different.
At the 2014 Charleston Conference
keynote speaker Anthea Stratigos cited a survey of
undergraduate students in which 86% of the
students preferred print textbooks over eTextbooks.
This is one of many surveys and studies
being conducted about reading and learning
using electronic resources and devices versus
In reality, it is too early to tell; however,
again, we need to remember that the library
should always be assessing and adjusting its
mission to the changing needs of the community.
Save the Date: NASIG at 30
NASIG is one of the premier organizations focused on
serials and digital resources in all their aspects. Join us at the
Hilton Crystal City in May 2015 to participate in this lively
and enlightening conference. Between sessions, take
advantage of the museums, parks, monuments, and other delights
of this incredibly accessible city.
against the grain
Born & lived: Born in New York, but in my adult life I have lived in Pennsylvania, Maine,
Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida.
F:yamil Married with two grown sons; Judson and Austin Powers (He was born 12
wyears before the movie!).
o ProFesional raec and actives: Currently the librarian for the College of
P the Arts. I LOVE it!
y Fvoritea Boks: There are too many to name, but some of my favorites include The
e Great Gatsby, Leaves of Grass, Stranger in a Strange Land, Fahrenheit 451, Snows of
r Kilimanjaro, Narcissus and Goldmund, etc., etc., etc. I recently read and loved Wild and
Until Tuesday. My dream is that when I retire I will read and garden all day.
Pet Pevs/twha makes em amd: Dishonesty.
PhilosP:yh Live life to its fullest and have fun!
Amost meanigFlu arec :achievmnt Working with five Nobel Laureates at
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory including Drs. James Watson and Barbara McClintock.
lago i hoPe to achiev Five years From now: Publish a monograph.
ohw/wher do i se the yindustr ni Five years: I would have never been able
to predict what we are doing now. How could I possibly predict the future?
ATG: Undergraduate libraries have
different needs than say a medical library. Will
this issue of ATG reflect those differences?
AP: Yes. It may be presented as a case
study of “how we did it,” but it will be evident
that strategic planning is the underpinning of
ATG: Is your library at the University of
South Florida re-appropriating book stacks
for other purposes? If so, what are they? If
not, why not?
AP: Yes. I plan to write about that, so I
can’t give it away ahead of time. Stay tuned
ATG: Which of your current print
collections are the most viable?
AP: We weeded print periodicals long ago
as we transitioned to e-journal subscriptions.
Recently, we moved collections, installed
compact shelving, and weeded monograph and
serial collections. These activities have served
us well and afforded the subject librarians
the opportunity to be proactive in collection
management, which in my judgment, is good.
ATG: Do you have any predictions about
the future of print collections?
AP: Let me look into my crystal ball….
My only hope is that we don’t get rid of the
old to make room for the new without careful
thought and planning.
ATG: What about the future of libraries
and library collections in general?
Libraries are more popular than ever. Our
library is busy all hours of the day and night.
The question reminded me of the time when
online searching first became popular and
librarians feared librarianship would become
a defunct profession. Didn’t happen.
ATG: Busy librarians need some down
time. Besides being one of the directors of
the Charleston Conference, what do you do
for fun? Do you have any hobbies or interests
that let you kick back and relax?
AP: Yes, of course. I love to relax
with my husband and our chocolate lab.
I enjoy gardening, entertaining, traveling,
renovating our house, attending arts events,
reading, and … there are not enough hours in
the day to do everything we enjoy. Not a bad
problem to have.
ATG: Audrey we know that you want to
get back to editing the April issue of ATG so
we’ll let you go. Thanks for taking time to
talk to us.