Alumni and Giving

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.

The lecture is usually presented at the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida, School of Information. However, the 2010 lecture was held at the Florida Atlantic University Library in Boca Raton and the 25th anniversary lecture was held at the annual conference of the Florida Library Association on May 7, 2014 in Orlando, Florida.

2019 Lecture

  Jessamyn West


Jessamyn West was the 2019 Alice G. Smith Lecturer

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.


This year's lecture was held on October 18th at the The Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, 1505 N Nebraska Avenue in Tampa, Florida. This event also featured Mrs. Carrie Hurst as the 2020 recipient of the Jean Key Gates Distinguished Alumni Award.  You can view materials from the presentation here.



Past Lecturers

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.” [4]

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.[5]

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.”

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.

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.

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

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).

2007. Ashley Bryan: 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.

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).

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.[6][7]

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.[8]

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.

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.Introduction by Jessica Riggins of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.[9]

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.

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.

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.

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."