Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Library Director and Department Chair Constantia Constantinou Appointed to the Rank of Distinguished Librarian

Stephen B. Luce Library proudly announces that Ms. Constantia Constantinou has been appointed as SUNY Distinguished Librarian, the highest rank conferred upon SUNY librarians. This is a remarkable accomplishment for Ms. Constantinou as there were only three other Distinguished Librarians in the history of SUNY.

SUNY news release on Ms. Constantinou’s appointed as Distinguished Librarian

In extending its distinguished ranks to the library faculty, SUNY recognizes the accomplishments of its entire faculty, and also assumes national leadership within the academy by becoming the first university system to so encourage and foster the full potential of the faculty status of librarians.

The Distinguished Librarian is a prestigious tenured University rank that is awarded to librarians whose contributions have been transformational in creating a new information environment by providing access to information, sharing or networking information resources, and fostering information literacy. The Distinguished Librarian rank honors and promotes the achievement of personal excellence, groundbreaking professional progress, and wide-ranging benefit to the academic community. Receiving this rank today is:

Constantia Constantinou has been the Director of the Stephen B. Luce Library at the Maritime College since 2001. She has served on the SUNY Council of Library Directors (SCLD) and represented SCLD on the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians and to the New York State Higher Education Initiative. As a Fulbright Scholar (2011) and as a Fulbright Senior Specialist (2005), in the country of Cyprus, she has accomplished what no other scholar or librarian has been able to do since 1974 by bringing the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot academic communities closer through overcoming ethnic and political conflicts. To achieve this, Ms. Constantinou established collaborations among institutions, lectured and trained librarians in information literacy, enabled the membership of the University of Cyprus into OCLC global bibliographic network, and promoted the establishment of the Cyprus National Library Consortium. Ms. Constantinou’s scholarly work and presentations in Croatia, Greece, Turkey, China, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States have enhanced the principles of information literacy by setting exemplary standards within worldwide maritime universities.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simon Winchester on Atlantic at the Luce Library

On Thursday, November 17th, fifty students, faculty, and alumni gathered in the Luce Library for a lecture by bestselling author Simon Winchester on his latest work, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories. Given that SUNY Maritime's student body traverses the Atlantic Ocean every summer, the discussion was bound to be one of the most relevant, exciting, and interesting of recent memory. And Mr. Winchester did not disappoint.

He explained that the writing for Atlantic contrasted greatly with his composition of an unsuccessful parallel book he had written about the Pacific Ocean. "All I knew was, I had to write about the Atlantic in a different way than the Pacific, which was a total disaster." Inspiration struck, however, through an anthology of poetry, edited by British politician David Owens, entitled Seven Ages: Poetry for a Lifetime. Owen uses Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man speech to give the anthology its structure; Winchester decided on a similar tack.

"It occurred to me that the structure of Shakespeare's Seven Ages that worked so well for Owen might also work very well for our relationship with the Atlantic," he noted. Therefore, the book is comprised of seven chapters (as well as a prologue), each of which relates a different aspect of humankind's relationship with the Atlantic. For example, a chapter on Shakespeare's "lover" age focuses on the poetry, literature and artwork relating to the Atlantic Ocean; the following chapter, the "soldier" age, details the Atlantic's many famed battles.

Through this framework, Winchester was able to narrate such disparate elements of the sea as the age of exploration, the business of shipping, erroneous human beliefs about the sea, the effect of pollution, developments in oceanic cartography, the oceanic fishing industry, the history of piracy, and much more.

Simon Winchester's lecture at the library was triggered by a lone tweet from one of the Luce librarians which mentioned Mr. Winchester, a fact which seems particularly appropriate given the subject matter of the lecture. As Winchester noted, humankind's relationship with this most storied ocean has always had an unpredictable, serendipitous, and surprising nature, from man's first discovery of oysters as an edible mollusc on the shores of South Africa, to the heroic rescue of a marooned group of eighty British people on Africa's Skeleton Coast during World War II, to the way the British won World War I's Battle of the Atlantic.

After the event, Mr. Winchester stayed on to meet the audience and sign copies of Atlantic. Students exchanged stories of Atlantic adventures on the Empire State with the author, who was very receptive to questions and further discussion of the book. For many, this moment of personal engagement was the highlight of the event.

Simon Winchester's Atlantic is available in the circulating collection of the Stephen B. Luce Library; our newly signed copy will be transferred to the Three Star archives collection. Students interested in Winchester's work may also check out some of his other books from the Luce Library, including Krakatoa and The Map that Changed the World.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winchester to Speak at Luce Library

Bestselling author Simon Winchester, author of popular and accessible histories such as Krakatoa, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and The Professor and the Madman, is set to give a book lecture on his latest work, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories this Thursday, November 17 at 3:15pm at the Stephen B. Luce Library.

Winchester's book tells the story of the world's most traversed ocean in inventive fashion: through seven chapters which parallel Shakespeare's famed Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It. In the first chapter, for example -- "First the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse's arms" -- Winchester discusses the formation of the Atlantic Ocean and its geologic makeup, as well as humankind's initial forays beyond the shores of Europe and Africa. Later chapters discuss famous battles, the Atlantic's echoes in literature and popular culture, the effects of pollution on the ocean, and much more.

The Stephen B. Luce Library Lecture series features bestselling authors including Winchester and Clive Cussler as well as talks from our librarians on subjects such as the history of Maritime College. Simon Winchester's lecture will take place at 3:15 pm on Thursday, November 17 in the Luce Library. All are welcome.