Orlando, FL

University of Central Florida

The Orlando PTRC has been located at the John C. Hitt Library at the University of Central Florida since December 30, 1988.  This has been an unusual year in more ways than one.  Like most libraries, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close our doors and move nearly all in-person services to remote-only.  Working from home, while initially difficult, has fostered an interesting kind of intimacy, allowing us through Teams meetings to get a glimpse of our coworkers’ lives via their home offices, kitchen counters, patio gardens, tchotchkes, pets, and the occasional disgruntled spouse.  Research consultation modalities went from “in-person, email and phone”, to “Zoom, email and phone,” having the surprising effect of making service to people who lived far away less awkward and more accessible.  In the fall the library reopened under decreased occupancy and enforced social distancing, allowing people to come in to use PubEAST and PubWEST, but all other meetings are still virtual.  In addition to one-on-one consultations, I also gave a patents and trademarks presentation for the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership’s “Starter Resources” workshop series in October, was visiting speaker in a Frontiers in Optics class, and helped make a short library video promoting patent education to UCF faculty.  I also virtually attended the PIUG annual conference, courtesy of a “travel” grant from the PTRCA.

Odd that the library should have to shut its doors so close to the opening date of our new addition.  The Automated Retrieval Center was completed in 2019, but the completion of the connector between it and the legacy building was another year in the making.  Opening in August 2020, the library now has a beautiful new primary entrance that faces the Student Union (pictured, right), increased seating, a multipurpose room, an exhibition space, two new classrooms, and a reading room on top of the ARC boasting a 270- degree view of campus.

The library welcomes Shane Roopnarine in a part-time and interim role at the Orlando PTRC.  Shane is a Subject Librarian at the University of Central Florida Libraries. He earned his Master of Library and Information Science degree from the Florida State University and a Master of Arts in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of Central Florida. Prior to UCF, Mr. Roopnarine spent nearly 7 years at the Orange County Library System as a Reference Librarian and 3 years at Florida State University Libraries in various roles. Shane is an active member of the Florida Library Association and is also a member of the American Library Association.

The UCF Library has gone through many other personnel changes in the past year, seeing the retirement of Selma Jaskowski, AD for Technology Services & Resource Management, Barry Baker, the UCF Director of Libraries for 22 years, and Joel Hartman, VP of IT&R (Information Technologies and Resources) and Chief Information Officer.  These three have provided a combined 72 years of service at UCF and their contributions will be felt for years to come.  In the past month, the University of Central Florida has begun a national search for the founding Dean of Libraries, a change in title and leadership role befitting the libraries’ prominent role in a major research university.