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University of Florida
George A. Smathers Libraries
Development Office
P.O. Box 117000
Gainesville, FL 32611-7000
(352) 273-2505


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Winners of the Starbucks Gift Card Drawing

Library supporters have provided $25 Starbucks gift cards to be used for drawings. Users are asked to tell us why the UF Libraries are important to them. Enter on the libraries' home page:

June-July 2014 winner: Manu S. Chandrasekaran
The UF libraries serve as one stop destinations for students to get work done and be productive. In Library West, the experience begins with the pleasant aroma of coffee from Starbucks, followed by the vibrant work atmosphere you observe through students diligently completing their respective assignments and quality infrastructure which include charging stations, comfortable chairs and spacious desks. Typically, the UF libraries are multi-storied and designate certain floors to 'quiet study', offering UF students the choice to work in an atmosphere that fits their learning style. Thus, the flexibility, diversity and convenience make UF libraries an important destination to me and many of my fellow Gators.

May 2014 winner: Shabnam Goli
I can't imagine my life without having access to UF libraries at this point of my life. I am writing my thesis and I read many books every week. Apart from that I am an avid reader I really enjoy the great collection that I have access to as a UF Grad student. Furthermore, the superb collection of the movies and documentaries at library west is what makes my life more interesting in the summer and during the breaks. In short, your life as a UF Gator is dependent on the great libraries that are around the campus.

April 2014 winner: Elana Bobelis
Depending on who I am with, how long I plan to study, what I’m studying and whether I want to drink coffee, my library preferences change. What I love the most about UF libraries is that they differ in environment and atmosphere. Which is perfect because my study spots never bore me. 

When I have a group project or have a few hours to spare between class and an exam, you can find me studying in the basement at Marston. When I plan on staying up late with a friend or two to study, you can find me (if I get lucky) in the booths on the third floor of Library West. When I want a quiet, cozy place to study for a short amount of time, I like to study at the Architecture and Fine Arts library. The double-decker desks with plush couch-like seats are hard to resist.  It is in the perfect location, serving as the median between my classes and my house. This is my favorite study place.

To be completely honest, I never realized how much I admire UF Libraries are until I studied with my sister at her University.  I remember walking in to the library and the first floor was nothing different from any library entrance, but when we went to study upstairs, I was secretly disappointed - There were barely any windows and it was empty. I was disappointed because I was used to the student-filled, well-lit libraries with giant windows and cozy study areas.

I finally realized how ergonomic and student-accommodating UF libraries are.  Students rarely complain about spending time in UF libraries because there is nothing to complain about. There’s a library for every mood, a study spot for every class break and most importantly, students who value education and do not mind spending their Friday evenings and Sunday nights toiling away at their homework.

March 2014 winner: Christi Aboutayeh
The UF Libraries are one of my favorite places to study and meet up with friends. They are great for getting some quiet time when I need to really focus, and are also a great place to meet friends and peers to work on projects and assignments. In my opinion, they promote a studious atmosphere but are very chill and relaxed and they make me feel at home. I think the study rooms are also quite cool and handy as they allow one to study with a group of people with whiteboards and big tables. I find it hard to study at home alone, so being in the libraries with many others who are also studying is sort of motivational and keeps me focused.

February 2014 winner: Mekut Archibong
1. I can not study in my dorm room and it provides a neutral place for me to study. I especially love the study rooms or the quiet floors.
2. It has such an immense amount of resources that I do not want to see go. Movies, books, encyclopedias, etc. For example, when I was trying to learn french on my own, I would go to uflib to try and look up books, audio cds, anything to help me and I discovered sooo many more things that I did not expect.
3. Most importantly, with the digital age, books are becoming extinct. Seriously. First Borders closed down, which I was extremely unhappy about. Now I read that Barnes N' Nobles is on the verge of bankruptcy. Within the next 10 years, who knows if there will even be books stores?? So this is the MOST IMPORTANT reason why libraries are so essential to me and should be to everyone else. The authenticity and tranquility that one feels when reading a book as they sit in the library or bookstore near a window can not be replaced by anything the internet has to offer.

January 2014 winner: Marc Parochai
UF Libraries are important to me because they provide a study area for me that other campus facilities cannot. UF Libraries have countless collections of books, journals, magazines, video cassettes, music, and reference materials that can help me when I need assistance with research or course assignments. UF Libraries also have collections that I can read leisurely. UF Libraries not only have books and computers, but also study rooms and tables that I can use to study with friends and classmates. The study tables and rooms encourage group facilitation and teach students how to cooperatively learn as well as grow friendships.

October-December 2013 winner: Barbara Vanaki
This fall I rented my french textbook from the library, and it was a fabulous experience because, with that book, I became fluent in 5 measly months. After that, I realized I was definitely not utilizing the library's full potential and I wondered what other languages I could pick up using its resources. So, I began perusing and borrowing their books on Persian and Spanish language, and am happy to say that I am now successfully studying both all without having to pay for textbooks or tuition. As a chatty student who loves to learn about other cultures, this could not be a bigger boon.

That said, I adore Smathers because it houses a large collection of in depth language-learning textbooks. Whether I'm curious about a medieval dialect or colloquial speech, Smathers seems to have one of the two for even the most obscure of languages.

August-September 2013 winner: Therese Markowitz
The library is important because there is no better resource than an experienced human being. The librarian is indispensable for finding relevant and credible. I once asked a librarian for help finding a book for a research paper, and I was personally escorted to the area that held many books on my topic. She pulled out several books and gave me brief explanations of each. I found interesting perspectives that I would not otherwise have explored, and was able to present richer content in my work.

May-July 2013 winner: Kristen Petresky
The libraries provide an environment conducive to both individual studying and group study, providing a good barrier by making these separate floors. They also provide computers, reducing the weight I have to carry in my backpack, and scanners which enable me to scan my homework to have for later studying or to submit online for grading. The cherry on top is the friendly staff who are always willing to help and obviously enjoy what they do. Without the libraries, there is no way I could do engineering. I wouldn't have the focus at home, or the drive that the study atmosphere gives me. With the amount of time I spend in the libraries, Marston specifically has become almost like a second home. I feel comfortable here.

April 2013 wininer: Sarah Otsuka
The UF libraries are important to me because out of all the places I like to study and I do study, the on campus libraries are where I go most often. I am very thankful that Library West is open 24 hours Sunday through Thursday because I personally am more active during the evening and I study there until late mornings. It also motivates me to keep studying around other people and my friends rather than getting distracted at home. I have seen a significant change in my study habits and my grades from my first semester when I wasn't making use of the libraries and I appreciate student government for having library west open 24 hours. The libraries are also at convenient locations when I can meet friends and groups to study.

March 2013 winner: Catherine Verga
UF Libraries are so important to me because they offer me a place to focus on school work or to just relax after a long day. The amount of resources available to students are endless, which is great when you're working on a research paper or just need a quiet study room to help you focus. Since I discovered study rooms as a freshman, they have become my prime place to study. When I plan on coming to the library, the study room reservation page is the first place I check to see if one is available! Starbucks in Library West is also lifesaver if I need a pick-me-up during an extended study session or to help me survive finals week!

February 2013 winner: Elizabeth Mirabal
While I was a residential undergraduate student at UF, I spent a great majority of my time in the Architecture and Fine Arts Library as a student employee and as a budding art historical researcher (or so I liked to think). I loved having to shelve the books, because I always encountered an enormous variety of books on fine art and commercial design that I would use as reference for my research projects and as reference for my own artistic practice. Every night I would take home at least three to five new library books that I would pore over for academic as well as for extracurricular purposes; each book and each of the journals and periodicals at the library held the possibility of informing me about new ideas, artists, movements, trends, art works, etc. When I became a distance education graduate student, I thought I had lost my access to all these excellent sources. I suffered from great anxiety at having to conduct the bulk of my research online – although the libraries still provided me with excellent online research databases via the off-campus server, I simply missed experience of roaming the shelves and conducting research the old fashioned way: by pulling out a book, and sitting down to read. Thankfully, my anxiety was mitigated when I was informed that the UF libraries could indeed mail the books I desired to my home, at no extra shipping charge to me. Immediately, I requested several books via Illiad, and received them shortly afterwards. The UF Libraries are thus very important to me because they extend this excellent service to me as a distance education student. Although I doubt I will have access to such a well-stocked arts library near my home in the near future, I do now have the comfort of receiving the books that I want from the AFA library at my home. I’m confident my research will benefit from this simple service extended by the UF Libraries.

December 2012-January 2013 winner: Kimberly Aron
UF libraries are important to me for several reasons!  They are a resource of academic information, providing me with free access to required textbooks for my classes.  They are a resource of entertainment, providing me with personal reading material that enriches my UF experience. They are a resource of productivity materials such as scanners, copiers and printers - all important during a typical school week, especially when I need to scan an assignment quickly before class. They provide access to computers, which are absolutely essential for someone like me (who doesn't own a laptop). And finally, they provide me with a warm cup of coffee from Starbucks (well, Library West does!). 

October-November 2012 winner: Tushar Kanty Bhattacharyya
The libraries are a sort of haven for me. I like to get into a cozy little corner of a study area and work on my assignments or simply do research. I feel there couldn't be a better place where you could simply study with no distractions. The libraries here have a wealth of books. The UBorrow concept is simply wonderful. Together, they have allowed me access to any book I have wanted, so far. It has helped me a lot in some very difficult projects. The great thing is - I could do without purchasing textbooks! It has really been very rewarding for me to have such a variety of texts and references at my disposal.

August-September 2012 winner: Betyna Berice
The UF Libraries are important to me because they provide a better atmosphere for me to study in. It’s quiet and calm and I am able to concentrate more that way. It also provides an infinite number of resources when I have important history papers to write. I can find primary sources dealing with the subject and just borrow them and excellent secondary sources. Also, the libraries’ computer systems are a big help when my Spanish lab does not want to work properly on my laptop.

May-July 2012 winner: Emerson Storm Fillman Richards
If you don't love the Libraries, why are you even at a university? There is no discipline that does not benefit from a superb library system-- from the Humanities to the STEM students, students and professors alike should be grateful that we have such nice libraries. Even if you (tragically) think there is nothing for you in books, the atmosphere of any of UF's libraries provide great study places. From the lovely Fine Arts Library to the grandiose Library West (with moving bookshelves!) to the distinguished Smathers Rare Book Reading Room to the nerd-filled Marston Science Library-- there's something for everyone.

What? You can't find what you need? ILL that book! What? You can't stay awake through the long night of writing and studying? Starbucks calls! What? You've never set foot in one of UF's libraries? Shame on you.

April 2012 winner: Amy Lobasso
The library is like an airport for my mind.  In Jonathan Franzen's speech at David Foster Wallace's funeral he recounted how they agreed that "fiction was a way out of loneliness."  We tell stories to share with each other, to understand each other.  We share these stories so that we feel less alone.  At Thanksgiving I always think about how thankful I am that I have food, but I also think about how thankful I am about my literacy.  I get food for my body AND food for my brain.  Reading is such a valuable skill for me because it enables me to entirely independent and free.  I can do anything I want because I can read about anything I want.  What I love about the library is that it promotes all of these ideals.  It is utterly amazing to me that I have access to the world's best literature, from Proust to Sartre to Melville to Eugenides.  I have access to the entire contemporary art world through the Architecture and Fine Arts library.  Even though I am down here in Gainesville I can still make myself aware of everything that is going on in the world, and everything that has gone on in the world.  When people get too boring for me, I always have the library.

February-March 2012 winner: Dina Lewis
The UF libraries are important to me because they have played a pivotal role in my success here at the University of Florida. As I am in my last graduating semester the familiarity of walking Library West's aisles fill me with so much warmth and joy for learning. Simply put, the UF libraries have fostered that away from home encouragement. Having access to the UF libraries made me go that extra mile to watch my online statistics lectures, to make friends by creating a study group and instilling in me a sense of self and purpose as I continue on my studies at the University of Florida.

December 2011-January 2012 winner: Marian Maloney
The UF libraries are a sanctuary of knowledge on a diverse, ever-changing campus. While they constantly update their technology and add services for students, the libraries still hold the traditional books that created the foundation for our education. Whether studying with friends for a final, researching for a paper, or simply reading for recreation, the UF libraries hold treasures for students of all majors. I have spent half of my undergraduate career either on the fourth floor (a quiet floor) of Library West reading Dante or in the Starbucks (a not-quiet floor) drinking coffee and playing on my Kindle. It became my home on campus, and I will sorely miss my library once I have graduated.

November 2011 winner: Kem Chatfield Jr.
UF Libraries are my home away from home. Coming from Miami, I had a hard time adjusting to life away from home. Most of the time, I felt alone and scared. What made my experience worse was the fact that I struggled in most of my classes. While I loved reading and writing, I noticed that UF demanded more from me. Many of my classmates seemed extremely prepared for college reading and writing, but I didn't feel the same way. Then I decided to visit Library West. The librarians and research assistants were so helpful and taught me several research strategies that I still use today. Also, they exposed me to several resources on campus. At my high school, I only used one library. At UF, however, there were several libraries that I could use at any time. Plus, there were numerous audio and visual materials that I could use for schoolwork or pleasure. I love watching documentaries for pleasure, so I was extremely excited to see the plethora of documentaries that were stored in every library. Due to the help of UF Libraries, my grades increased dramatically. Now, I visit UF libraries for academic work and pleasure. From Library West to the Education Library to the Fine Arts Library, every library means a lot to me. As a Preview Staffer during Summer 2011, I encouraged all of my students to visit the libraries on campus because it makes a positive impact on their lives and grades. Now, as a 4th year student, I will miss every library on campus. I've been to libraries at numerous universities, but none can match UF’s library system. To everyone involved in the construction and development of UF libraries, thank you for changing my life and helping me throughout all of my trials and tribulations.

October 2011 winner: McKenna Smith
I didn't visit the library for the first month that I attended UF mostly out of fear. I was afraid people would know I was a freshman and judge me if I went to the wrong place or did the wrong thing. I finally sucked it up and went to study one time and absolutely loved it! It was a quiet place to get my studying done. I love picking a chair that overlooks University Avenue and spreading out my stuff with a cup of Starbucks in my hand. It makes studying less miserable.

September 2011 winner: Kristopher Woods
UF Libraries can be considered an oasis in the vast, hectic filled campus on any day of the week. Its a place where students can get some peace and quiet as they prepare for the day ahead of them. It doesn't matter if the student is a Freshman trying to pass Chem 1, a Junior attempting to stay afloat in his classes (like me),or it it's the Graduate student who is working on his graduate thesis, the library is the place for all. For me, the library is not just a place to study. I often find myself grabbing an iced coffee in the middle of the day between classes, or when the merciless Florida sun slowly eats away at my skin I know I can always take a break at one of the Libraries, knowing that I will always be greeted with a blast of cold air and a smile from someone behind the desk. But for those days when my homework load seems all but bearable, I can count on finding a comfy chair by a window at the library where I can relax and polish off my work.

August 2011 winner: Deborah Truex
Libraries are important for me because they are a quiet haven, a place that is essential to me as the semester progresses. Amidst the traffic in Turlington, the chaos of classes, and delirium in my dorm, the libraries are a place I can turn to when I need a quiet chair to do differential equations in, or just need a place to sit and think. Whether it is in the morning before class, squeezed in between a lab and Physics, or at the end of the day before I head back to my dorm to go to sleep, the library is always there to give me a place to sit back, relax, and go to get some work done too.

Summer 2011 winner: Amira El-Behiri
The library is very important to me because it provides a quiet, comfortable place to study. I don't even study at home, because I'm always here. I love how much lighting there is in here during the day time. And sometimes during study breaks I enjoy just browsing through all the books and microfilms. I also love how when I didn't have a laptop, I could come here and use the computers. Additionally, when I would be studying in a group, I could easily reserve a group room online, and have additional privacy while studying. I also like how I see everyone I know when I'm at the library, it's like a social event. I LOVE THE UF LIBRARIES! Particularly West which is where I happen to be right now... on the first day of classes :)

April 2011 winner: Elizabeth Mirabal
The UF Libraries are crucial in providing a wealth of media and other resources at my disposal. As a fine arts student, I am always seeking inspiration for artwork, and the well stocked book shelves at the Architecture and Fine Arts library always deliver the inspiration and ideas that I seek. Other wonderful things about the AFA and other libraries is the new gadgets available to check out; I have frequently taken advantage of the new mini projectors and flip cameras available for use in my projects. The libraries have definitely come through in aiding my success here at UF with the books and media they put at my disposal.

March 2011 winner: Paige Parrinelli
It’s just another day in the life of an ordinary college student. I enter Library West, instantly hit by the smell of books and coffee, and make my way up the escalator, eager to find a quiet study spot so I can prepare for that one exam I know I’m going to be cramming all night for. I walk past the checkout counter, and soon find myself within a maze of moving bookshelves, and there’s a sense of mystery and magic that makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a fantasy novel. However, very much unlike a fantasy novel, the first things I see on the shelves are rows upon rows of DVDs.

I pause, in spite of myself, to read the titles. No matter how many times I walk by the DVD section I can’t help but feel amused by the variety available at the UF libraries. Everything from old time movies, to modern TV series, and even children’s cartoons can be found here. There are also foreign movies, with titles I can’t even guess the language of. Just this part of the library alone could take hours to investigate properly, but I know I still have work to do.

I finally get a hold of myself and continue my search for the perfect study spot. I walk slowly, catching the titles of books as I walk past the shelves: Vindication of the Rights of Women, Jane Austen’s Politics, Youth Cultures, Performing Shakespeare in Japan…almost anything that I can imagine has a place on those shelves. Once again, I’m unable to help myself. Before I know what’s even happening, an hour has already passed and all I’ve done in that span of time is look at books. I should feel awful, after all, I have an exam to study for, but I don’t. Because, in that one hour, I’ve done what many fail to do throughout the course of their entire educational careers: I’ve enjoyed learning.

That is what the UF libraries mean to me. They represent the true college educational experience. Not the painful experience of stuffing your head full of facts for a test, only to forget them all the next day, but the experience of actually wanting to learn. It’s the desire to explore the worlds hidden between book pages, and to see those worlds through the eyes of a movie camera lens. Thanks to the UF libraries, I am able to get the fullest education possible, by being able to take a break to learn about the things that truly interest me.

February 2011 winner: Michelle Harris
The UF Libraries are essential to me since they provide resources and access to scholarly discourse in my field. I have spent countless hours searching through articles and databases that are compiled by the Libraries, and I have benefitted greatly from the specialized librarians that have pointed me to the Libraries' research page dedicated to my area of study. As a senior about to graduate, I realized how much I relied on the Libraries' resources to connect me to my discipline as a scholar and student, and I was ecstatic to learn that I was accepted to my graduate program at UF and will have access to the Libraries and resources for at least two more years!

January 2011 winner: Angela Truex
Without a doubt, the libraries are my favorite place on the UF campus. They are more than just a blast of refreshing cool air in the summer or cozy heat in the winter, more than a shelter from the wind and rain or a comfy spot for a mid-morning nap, although they have served these purposes for most of us at one time or another. When I look back on my experience at the University of Florida many years from now, I will see the libraries. The libraries are where I meet with friends to work on projects, laughing and whispering around a table on the first floor. They are where I study for my exams late into the night with endless cups of coffee, and where I put the finishing touches on what I'm sure is my best paper yet. Whether it's for research or pleasure reading, there's nothing I love more than wandering through the shelves, gathering an ever-growing stack of books in my arms until I'm convinced I can't carry any more, only to add one last book that I simply can't do without. And when I curl up in a chair by the window with my books piled around me, it feels like everything is right with the world.

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