Events & Awards

Alice G. Smith Lecture

The Alice G. Smith Lecture, established in 1989, is sponsored by the University of South Florida, School of Information. The lecture is an annual recognition of a scholar or author whose achievements have been instrumental in the development of librarianship or information studies. The lecture series honors the memory of the School's first director, Alice Gullen Smith, known for her work with youth and bibliotherapy. The Lecture Fund was created with the purpose of memorializing the visionary work of Dr. Smith, who was central to the School's first accreditation by the American Library Association in 1975. Florida Library Association archivist, Bernadette Storck has provided an oral history of the development of libraries in Tampa, Florida that details the contributions of Dr. Smith including her establishment of the Tampa Book Fair that encouraged thousands of children to foster a love for books and reading.

To learn more about the Alice G. Smith Lecture visit the dedicated Wikipedia page.

To watch our previous events visit our Youtube Page.

Past Lecturers

2023: Todd Chavez
34th Annual Alice G. Smith Lecture, School of Information 50th Anniversary Event

Todd Chavez

Todd Chavez, Dean of USF Libraries

The 2023 Alice G. Smith Lecture featuring Todd Chavez, Dean of USF Libraries, was conjoined with the School of Information's 50th Anniversary of it Library and Information Science program, held in the USF Marshall Student Center. Todd Chavez's research focuses on the intersection between library and information science and interdisciplinary research, with emphasis on the geosciences. Chavez’s areas of expertise include library administration, digital library/collection implementation and management, open-access publishing, digital scholarship, and geoscience information research.

Past projects include OA publishing; data management for the Center for Integrated Modeling & Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems I-III; and the Karst Information Portal project. During his tenure at the USF Libraries, Chavez launched several strategic initiatives including the Center for Digital Heritage & Geospatial Information, the Data Analytics Team, the Open-Access Publishing team, and the institution’s digital repository of scholarly output. Past projects include the Gulf Oil Spill Information Center, the Cave Mineral Database, the Ethiopian National Research Databank, and digital collections supporting sustainability research at Costa Rica’s Monteverde Research Institute.

Current activities include the Florida Environment & Natural History Collection initiative and the African American Experience in Florida Portal. In addition to his primary duties, Chavez has published and presented on bibliometric analyses of scientific research, information portal design and deployment, and the role of “grey literature” in interdisciplinary scholarship. His articles and presentations appear in Publishing Research Quarterly, Numeracy, the Journal of Cave & Karst Studies, and the Proceedings of the 18th National Cave and Karst Management Symposium. Chavez served on the Digital Initiatives Advisory Board for the Medieval Academy of America, the USF Associate Deans for Research Committee, the Provost’s Chairs Steering Committee, and is a founding member of the international Karst Information Portal Project collaboration. His current assignment places him on the University of South Florida’s Campus Leadership Council, the Council of Deans, and the Information Technology Management Council.

2022: Mika Slaughter Nelson
“Modern Marvels: Mining Gems to Manifest Dreams"

Mika Nelson

Mika Slaughter Nelson, MLIS

The 2022 Alice G. Smith Lecture features Mika Slaughter Nelson and her talk “Modern Marvels: Mining Gems to Manifest Dreams.” Mika Slaughter Nelson, MLIS, is the director of the St. Petersburg Library System, a municipal system of seven libraries, including the President Barack Obama Main Library, among five City of St. Petersburg owned and operated libraries, as well as two partnership libraries with St. Petersburg College and the Childs Park YMCA. Mika is a 2001 graduate of the University of South Florida’s School of Information (USF SI) and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (2001) and Beta Phi Mu International Library & Information Studies Honor Society (2003).

Mika Slaughter Nelson was the 2015 recipient of the USF SI Jean Key Gates Distinguished Alumni Award and currently serves on the USF SI MLIS Advisory Council. Libraries, a true passion for Mika, are at the heart of achieving her goals to support community development, literacy across the lifespan, as well as inclusivity and access. Mika has worked in special, academic, school, joint-use, and public libraries during her 20-year tenure. In her leisure, she enjoys family, experiencing the arts and visiting the beach as much as possible.

The University of South Florida School of Information (USF SI) is an iSchool and offers three graduate programs: M.A. Library and Information Science (MLIS), M.S. Intelligence Studies (MSIS), and M.S. Cybersecurity Intelligence and Information Security (MSCIIS). The iSchool offers a Minor in Intelligence Studies, B.S. in Information Science (BSIS) with concentrations in Data Science and Analytics, Health Informatics, Information Security, Intelligence Analysis, and Web Development Technologies.

Watch the 2022 Alice G. Smith Lecture

2021: Alicia K. Long and Lucia M. Gonzalez
"Changing the Face of Librarianship: REFORMA and Library Services to Latino Communities"

Alicia K. Long and Lucia M. Gonzalez

Alicia K. Long and Lucia M. Gonzalez

Alicia K. Long is a bilingual librarian, educator, and scholar. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of South Florida, School of Information (USF SI) and the Access Services Supervisor at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota Libraries. Alicia teaches “Multicultural Materials for Children and Young Adults” at the USF SI’s graduate program, and in 2021 she published Developing an impactful diverse literature course for future librarians. Alicia is the 2021-2022 President of REFORMA de Florida, a chapter of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking. She has chaired REFORMA’s Public Relations Committee and the Pura Belpré Award Selection Committee. Alicia is currently the chairperson of the Walter Dean Myers Award Judging Committee from We Need Diverse Books. Alicia was the 2012 American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leader for REFORMA, where she developed the Noche de Cuentos website, and she was also an ALA Spectrum Scholar.

Lucia M. Gonzalez started her career in library services to children in 1988 after receiving her Masters in Library Science from the University of South Florida. Since then, Gonzalez has worked in different capacities for the Miami-Dade Public Library System including system-wide Programs Coordinator. She was Associate Director for Broward County Libraries in charge of Outreach, Family Literacy, and Youth Services before coming to the City of North Miami. Gonzalez is currently City of North Miami Library Director. She is the author of three award-winning children’s books: The Bossy Gallito, winner of the 1996 Pura Belpré Children’s Literature Honor Medal and part of New York Public Library’s 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know; Señor Cat’s Romance and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America, an Américas Award Commended Title; and The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos, winner of the 2009 Pura Belpré Children’s Literature Honor Medal for narrative, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, Honor Book, and the Américas Award.

Lucia is also a Past-President of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (2010-11), National Co-Chair of REFORMA’s Children and Young Adult Services Committee (2006-2010), two-time recipient of national Library Journal Movers & Shakers Award for her contributions in shaping the future of libraries, and 2021-22 President of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a Division of the American Library Association.

Watch the 2021 Alice G. Smith Lecture.

2020: Dr. James E. Andrews was the Director of the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of South Florida, and is currently the Associate Director of the School and an Associate Professor of Information Science and Informatics. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science from the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he also earned a Master’s in Library and Information Science. Dr. Andrews’ doctoral work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Library of Medicine (NLM) as a Predoctoral Medical Informatics Fellow. His research and teaching fall broadly within the areas of health informatics and information science, with particular interests in health-related information behaviors as well as terminology and data standards. Dr. Andrews has co-authored a number of peer-reviewed publications and has presented nationally and internationally at various meetings and events. He served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) as SIG Cabinet Director, is active in the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), the iSchools group, Association for Library and Information Science Education, and other organizations including various university and state-level service activities. Andrews serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Education in Library and Information Science, reviews for several journal in health fields and information science, and has served as a reviewer for various federal funding agency grant panels (e.g. NIH, NSF, and IMLS). He is an honorably discharged veteran who served in the US Navy as an Intelligence Analyst on an Admiral's Staff, and received the Navy Achievement Medal. 

This year's lecture was held at the USFSI SAIL Initiative, an interdisciplinary space for students, faculty, and staff to come together and better understand and affect how people seek, exchange, consume, and avoid information. The SAIL Initiative was designed and developed by Dr. Andrews. During his lecture, Dr. Andrews reflected on his tenure leading USFSI and what changes he saw in the future for Information Schools and the profession.

2019: Jessamyn Charity West is an American librarian and blogger, best known as the creator of and for her unconventional views on her profession as an information activist. West is an active consultant, researcher and international public speaker on library science and digital divide issues. She is the author of a 2011 book Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide which explores the challenges of a society becoming stratified by computer skills as well as race and income inequality. Jessamyn speaks to local, regional, and national libraries and library associations and is a regular Computers in Libraries columnist writing on these and other issues relating to the status and roles of libraries in the modern changing world. She has put her skills to good use for fifteen years teaching basic technology classes at Randolph Technical Career Center's adult education program. In addition to being a community technologist and writer, she has taught Community Engagement at University Of Hawai'i at Manoa's Library & Information Science Program, and is the technology coordinator for the Vermont Library Association (VLA). She created the "Passport to Vermont Libraries" program and was the recipient of VLA's Library Advocate of the Year Award in 2016, and was recently a Fellow at Harvard's Library Innovation Lab. She holds a BA from Hampshire College and an MLib. from the University of Washington.

2018: Dr. Nathan R. Johnson, Department of English at the University of South Florida, historian of librarianship, information, and public memory. His lecture in May 2018 was on "Building Memory's Infrastructure: The Invisible Work of Librarians."

2017: Dr. Douglas Oard, Professor, University of Maryland, School of Information. "There's an iSchool in your future (and in your past!)"—the University of South Florida iSchool: The Virtuous Cycle between Engagement and Resources.

2016: Dr. Roy Balleste, Law Library Director and Professor of Law at St. Thomas University, in Miami Gardens, Florida. Balleste is also an instructor for the University of South Florida and his latest publication is Internet Governance: Origins, Current Issues, and Future Possibilities. He spoke about the subjects of internet governance and cybersecurity at the Alice G. Smith Lecture.

2015: Dr. Barbara J. Stites, Assoc. Dean at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Stites has been president of Florida Library Association. She has also been Director of both the Southwest Florida Library Network and the Tampa Bay Library Consortium. She is the 2008 recipient of the School of Information Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Stites' lecture, "Doing the Next Right Thing, Simple Lessons for a Successful Career" was presented at the Florida Library Association annual meeting. May 13, 2015.

2014: Angie Drobnic Holan, editor of, the School of Information's 25th anniversary lecturer. She is also the 2014 recipient of the School of Information Distinguished Alumni Award. Angie Drobnic Holan was a member of the PolitiFact team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 election. She has been with the Tampa Bay Times since 2005 and previously worked at newspapers in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and New Mexico. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a master's of library science from the University of South Florida, School of Information. This lecture, the 25th anniversary lecture, was held at the Florida Library Association annual meeting on May 7, 2014. 

2013: Dr. Anthony Betrus professor in the Computer Science/Organizational Leadership and Technology Department at the State University of New York (SUNY Potsdam). He has implemented a six-course, 18-credit hour concentration on Game Development as an option for Information Technology graduate students. Betrus’ research interests include the motivational qualities of games and using games for training and instructional purposes.

2011: C.J. Roberts is President and CEO of the Tampa Bay History Center. Located in downtown Tampa, the Tampa Bay History Center is a non-profit educational institution preserving and promoting historical materials and artifacts from the greater Tampa and Hillsborough County area. The lecture, “A Shared Mission: The Tampa Bay History center and the USF Libraries: Florida Studies Center Partnership,” has been uploaded to YouTube.

2010: Raymond Santiago was director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) He won Library Journal Librarian of the Year Award for 2003. This lecture was held in connection with the 14th annual USF School of Library and Information Science East Coast Graduates Reception.

2009: John M. Budd, Professor in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri. Among his publications are Knowledge and Knowing in Library and Information Science (2001), which won the 2002 ALA/Highsmith Library Literature Award, and Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship (2008).

2007: In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the passing of Dr. Alice G. Smith, author, illustrator, and storyteller Ashley Bryan was chosen to be the Smith Lecturer. He has been honored with the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award.

2006: Dr. Donald O. Case, Professor University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information Studies was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to lecture at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Dr. Case's book, Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior (2002) was given the “Best Book of the Year” Award by the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T).

2005: Tom W. Sloan was Executive Director of the Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN). Lecture: “Leading 21st Century Libraries.”

2004: Dr. Samantha K. Hastings is director and professor at the University of South Carolina, School of Library and Information Science. She served as president American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) in 2004.

2003: Dr. Eugene Garfield chemist and leader in the field of Library and Information Science. He is also a past American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) President (1998-2000) and the President and Founding Editor of The Scientist.

2002: Dr. Robert S. Martin was the first librarian to direct the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS.), national President of Beta Phi Mu and a Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University. His lecture was titled “Libraries and the Twenty-first Century.”

2000: Satia Marshall Orange, then Director of ALA's Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, focusing on areas such as service to people with disabilities, people of color, older adults, and homeless.

1999: Isabel Schon, Spanish-speaking and Latino children expert. Author of 25 books and more than 400 research and literary articles. Her lecture was published in Library Services to Youth of Hispanic Heritage as “From Dona Blanca to Don Quijote.

1998: Philip M. Turner served simultaneously as a dean and the lead administrator for distance and distributed learning for fifteen years at two institutions: the University of Alabama and the University of North Texas.

1996: Bernadette Storck was first director of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, president and later archivist of the Florida Library Association.

1994: Mary Somerville is a retired Director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System She oversaw the reopening of hurricane-damaged libraries after Hurricane Andrew.

1992: P.B. Mangla, Professor and Head of the Department of Library and Information Science at Delhi University.

1991: Miriam Drake, former Dean and Professor Emerita of Georgia Tech Library.Winner of the Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award.

1990: Kenneth E. Dowlin was City Librarian for the City of San Francisco. Under his direction, a new, contemporary San Francisco Public Library was built.

1989: Jane Yolen, author and storyteller, is the author of many books, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Her books and stories have won an assortment of awards—two Nebulas, a World Fantasy Award, a Caldecott, the Golden Kite Award, three Mythopoeic awards, two Christopher Medals, a nomination for the National Book Award, and the Jewish Book Award, among many others. She is also the winner of the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota, and the Catholic Library's Regina Medal.