Library brings students ‘in focus’

Students search the online database for journal articles, huddle around computers for group projects and scroll through digital video and audio archives online. Officials at the USF Library are watching, and want to know how the digital revolution is altering students’ habits.

The Library is holding the “In Focus” student video contest to further its Web 2.0 program, in which libraries connect with their users through videos, podcasts and RSS feeds, University Librarian for Education Susan Ariew said.

With that aim in mind, the Library is accepting applications for its first student video contest, designed to find out how students are using Library facilities to succeed in presentations, projects or assignments.

“This initiative is important because our users don’t always need to physically visit the Library; they go on our Web site and view online journals and databases,” Library Communication Manager Skye Rodgers said. “It helps us to connect with them in terms of where they are.”

Although two million people still visit the Tampa Library each year, and 350 students per hour use the 140-unit computer lab on the first floor managed by Academic Computing, online access to the library continues to grow as 11 million people access the Web site annually.

Students interested in the contest need to create a two to five minute video on the value of Library facilities. The contest is co-sponsored by GSL Solutions and STA Travel.

All videos must be submitted by Dec. 14, when a panel of judges will select semi-finalists.

Semi-finalists will be notified by Jan. 18, and contest winners will be named at a reception held March 12 in the Grace Allen Room of the Library.

The Judge’s Choice will receive an MTV prize pack, including two VIP tickets to MTV’s Total Request Live and roundtrip airfare to New York.

The People’s Choice winner, chosen by popular vote on the USF Library Web site, will receive an Apple Video 80-gig iPod, and the runner-up will win a New Line Cinema DVD prize pack.

Contestants’ videos could be used instructionally as well as promotionally.

“If students talk about how they have benefited using the Library, there’s an instructional component where students can teach each other a lot by creating these videos,” Ariew said.

More information about the contest can be found at

Morgan Rotberg can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or