Project Team

At the University of Florida’s George A. Smathers Libraries:

Patrick Reakes

Patrick is the Principal Investigator for the project. He provides general project direction and serves as liaison with the Library of Congress. ­­­­ He also assists the Project Coordinator with coordinating internal library staff in all other areas of production. Patrick is the Associate Dean of Scholarly Resources and Services at UF. He previously served as Chair of the Humanities & Social Sciences Library, as Chair of the Departmental Libraries and Head of the Neuharth Journalism Library at UF. He holds an MSLS from Florida State University (FSU), a BS in Public Relations from UF, and is a graduate of the General Motors Management Development School. He was also a Fellow in the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Research Library Leadership Program, a highly competitive executive leadership program designed and sponsored by ARL member libraries to facilitate the development of future senior‐level leaders in large research libraries. Prior to coming to UF, he served as a law librarian at Florida Coastal School of Law, where he headed the interlibrary loan department and served as adjunct faculty member. He has also been a reference and instruction librarian at FSU, where he served as the Business Librarian. His current research focus is on the impacts of the evolving digital environment on news research and archiving.


Melissa Jerome

Melissa is the Project Coordinator and is responsible for all the day-to-day activities for the project, which includes all technical and administrative activities related to the digitizing of the selected newspapers, maintaining communication with project partners and vendors, as well as overseeing and assisting with outreach activities and publicity efforts. She has been employed in the Smathers Libraries for more than 9 years in various departments including Access Support in their Interlibrary Loan and Course Reserves departments, and in the Circulation Department as acting supervisor for the overnight hours. Melissa received a BA in Criminology and an MS in Pharmacy from the University of Florida and is currently pursuing an MS in Information from Florida State University, with focus on leadership & management.


At the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras:

Mario Torres

At the University of the Virgin Islands:

Celia Prince Richard

Celia is the manager of the University’s Albert A. Sheen (AAS) campus library, located on the island of St. Croix. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and her MILS from the University of Pittsburgh. She started employment at the library as a student employee in 1996 and assumed managerial responsibility for the library in 2017. In 2009, she was accepted into the HBCU Library Alliance Leadership Institute on a full scholarship. The program focused on developing leadership skills among library staff at HBCU institutions. She feels that the program helped her immensely with her personal growth and was key to her becoming the leader she is today. Currently, through the use of Title III funds, Celia is taking lead for renovating the library on the St. Croix campus. This five year project began in 2017 and aims to enhance the facility in order to ensure that students and faculty needs are met. Alongside a committee of librarians, she is also working to revamp the e-thesis program to ensure that postgraduate research conducted at UVI is widely disseminated. Professional board memberships include HBCU Library Alliance and dLOC Executive Committee. She has served as a UVI Librarian for over nine years, providing leadership for information literacy and instruction services, and public service operations. Currently, as the senior Information & Technology Services (ITS) employee on the AAS campus, she has responsibility for the component operations there.


Past Blog Contributors:

Sarah “Moxy” Moczygemba (January 2016 – May 2018)

Moxy served as the Outreach and Promotion Assistant for the project. In addition to managing the project’s social media and blog, she also provided outreach to educators to help them integrate Chronicling America and associated resources into K-12 and university classrooms. She is the Social Media Manager for the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. Moxy manages the main Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts for the Libraries–a responsibility which includes content curation and promotional campaign development. She also created and maintains the Social Media Guidelines for the Libraries, offers trainings, and coordinates the Social Media Group to facilitate the exchange of ideas across the Libraries. Moxy is a PhD candidate in the Religious Studies department at UF, and holds a MA in Religious Studies (University of Florida 2013) and a BA in Political Science (Trinity University 2009).


Katiana Bagué (June – August 2018)

Katiana Bagué born in Miami, Florida to Puerto Rican migrants, received her B.A. in Art History from the University of Florida (UF) in May 2018. She served as the Bilingual Outreach Assistant, writing blogs that highlighted content from the project’s Puerto Rican newspapers. She currently works full time at the George A. Smathers, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Library West, as a User Services Assistant, helping with circulation, outreach, and marketing initiatives for the branch. Additionally, she is a first-year graduate student in the Center for Latin American Studies at UF and is working towards the Latinx Studies, Migration & Transnational Studies specialization. Her research interests include exploring the artistic production by the Puerto Rican diaspora in the U.S. and improving diversity & inclusivity within libraries.


Heather Gonyeau (May – August 2019)

Heather served as the Bilingual Outreach Coordinator for the project. She curated materials for the project’s social media accounts, along with researching, authoring and translating the blog posts. She also managed community outreach, helping educators and historical societies understand and utilize Chronicling America’s many resources. Heather is pursuing a Ph.D. in History at the University of Florida. She holds an M.A. in History (University of Florida, 2018) and two B.A.s in History and Latin American Studies (George Mason University, 2016). Her specialization in Latin America provided the background for much of the research she conducted with the Florida & Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project. Heather’s dissertation explores physical culture and health; two themes you can see displayed prominently in her social media posts.

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