Libraries Receives Grant to Digitize Pan Am Archive

Prepare to soar through iconic 20th-century history.


Pan American World Airways Bermuda Clipper, a Sikorsky S-42 flying boat, as it arrives in Bermuda, 1937.

University of Miami Special Collections is gearing up for a project to put over 100,000 items in the Pan Am archive online thanks to a digitization grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

In May the NHPRC announced the grant, one of five awarded nationwide, for Special Collections to digitize the items in the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records collection. The archival collection—one of the University of Miami’s most popular and extensive—houses historical Pan Am brochures, newsletters, periodicals, annual reports, timetables, and many other records documenting the iconic company’s 60-plus years of operation.

“This is an opportunity to provide unprecedented access to Pan Am’s history, operations, and business culture,” says Sarah Shreeves, UM Libraries Associate Dean for Digital Strategies. “We thank the NHPRC for helping us make this extensive series available for researchers at any time of day and from anywhere in the world.”


The Pacific by Clipper, 1947.

The 1.5-year project, which begins in October, will include the digitization of 60 boxes of printed materials and publications (known as the “printed materials series”) spanning from 1930 to 1991, which is almost the entire lifetime of the company, and covering all of the geographic areas serviced by the airline.

The digitization efforts build on a previous NHPRC-funded project completed in 2014 to organize the collection in its entirety—all 1,500 boxes of administrative, legal, financial, technical, and promotional materials as well as internal publications, photographs, audiovisual material, and graphic material. Online tools for researching the collection are available on the mini-website Cleared to Land.

“The project will continue our efforts to maximize the impact of the collection as a research resource,” says Beatrice Skokan, Manuscripts Librarian at Special Collections, who worked with head of Digital Production and principal investigator Laura Capell to secure the grant.

Once the printed series is digitized, the archive will be fully text searchable and available to the public free of charge.

UM Libraries Celebrates Banned Books Week

by Lauren Fralinger, Learning and Research Services Librarian

How often do you think about your right to read? It is often said that words can change the world, whether they’re spoken aloud or written down. The First Amendment recognizes the power of words, enshrining our freedom of speech. But what happens when that speech is challenged? When we’re told we can’t speak out, can’t read words that might challenge our thoughts or give us new ideas?

Sbeyond magentaeptember 25 through October 1 is Banned Books Week, a time of year designated to raise awareness of banned and challenged books, and an opportunity to understand the consequences of censorship. This year the week takes a thematic focus on diversity, celebrating diverse voices and ideas and shining a light on disproportionate censorship of authors from diverse communities.

Banned Books Week was founded in 1982 by Judith Krug in response to a sudden surge of challenged books. Krug, a First Amendment defender and library advocate, strongly opposed censorship. She felt that no one should be restricted from books or ideas, and that readers should have the freedom to develop their own opinions.

In the thirty-four years since Krug began her initiative, there have been more than 11,300 books challenged, according to the American Library Association (ALA). 275 books were challenged in 2015, which is lower than previous years. Some of the most frequently challenged books  of 2015 included Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter, and even the Holy Bible, which appeared on the list for the first time. Books that involve topics of sexuality and religion often top lists of frequently challenged books.

51cKB7Nh4YL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_If a book is challenged, someone is trying to keep it from the hands of readers. ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom has reported the top three reasons for a challenge are: 1) the material was considered to be sexually explicit, 2) the material was considered to have offensive language, and 3) the material was considered unsuited for any age group.

Challenges by various groups have resulted in books commonly regarded today as classic literature being banned from libraries and schools across the United States: In 1957, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was banned from the Detroit Public Library for “having no value for children of today, supporting negativism, and bringing children’s minds to a cowardly level.”

Other classic works that have been banned include:

  • Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, on the grounds of profanity and racially charged language.
  • J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, described by detractors as a “filthy, filthy book.”
  • First edition copies of Allan Ginsberg’s Howl were seized by the San Francisco customs for obscenity in 1957; however, after a trial the obscenity charges were dropped.
  • John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was temporarily banned in the in region of California in which it was originally set for “alleged unflattering portrayal of area residents.”
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, was once banned by an Alabama textbook committee, deeming it a “real downer.”

Banned Books Week at Richter

Banned Books Week highlights these and many other influential works that have endured censorship, bringing together proponents of free speech, librarians, publishers, teachers, and book lovers of all genres. This year’s events specifically highlight the increasingly popular medium of comic books and graphic novels.

Come join us in September for a week-long celebration of free speech and great literature! Starting September 25, look around the library for books that have been challenged or banned – some of the titles may surprise you. And don’t miss our Read Out of banned and challenged work on September 28!

Throughout the week, you can also view a selection of banned, rare books at Special Collections. An exhibit near the elevators on the 8th floor will feature works by John Milton, William Shakespeare, Giordano Bruno (burned at the stake for his religious and scientific views), D. H. Lawrence, Allen Ginsberg, and others.

Exercise your right to read – check out a banned book from the library!

Join Us for Banned Books Week Read Out on September 28, 2 p.m.

E-mail HeaderWednesday, September 28
2 – 3:30 p.m.

Otto G. Richter Library
Learning Commons, 1st floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

Join us in celebrating the “right to read!” The University of Miami will commemorate the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week 2016 with a Read Out of previously banned or challenged works. Speakers for this event include:

  • cfrancis blackchild, Lecturer, Department of Theatre Arts
  • Louise Davidson-Schmich, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
  • Suchismita Dutta, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English
  • Jeremy Penn, Treasurer of SpectrUM
  • Josh Schriftman, Lecturer in the Composition Program, Department of English
  • Sarah Shreeves, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies, University of Miami Libraries

About Banned Books Week

Since 1982, the American Library Association has designated this annual week to raise awareness of banned and challenged books and the consequences of censorship. Banned Books Week 2016 takes a thematic focus on diversity, celebrating diverse voices and ideas and shining a light on disproportionate censorship of authors from diverse communities. Learn more about UM Libraries celebration of Banned Books Week »

Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive. Please click map image below to enlarge. Learn more about parking »


Join Us for Mindfulness at Richter on September 28, 4 p.m.


Wednesday, September 28
4 – 4:30 p.m.

Otto G. Richter Library
3rd Floor Conference Room
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

Co-presented by the UM School of Law

Join us for a practice session in mindfulness led by Scott Rogers, Lecturer in Law and Director of the Mindfulness in Law Program. This 30-minute session will introduce the fundamentals in mindfulness with five minutes of gathering and readying for practice, a 15-minute lightly-guided practice, and five-minute period of quiet discussion.

If you’re interested in attending this free program, please send an email to

Stay tuned for the next date in this series:

  • Wednesday, October 26

Parking is available at the Pavia Garage near Stanford Drive. Please click map image below to enlarge. Learn more about parking »


Star Trek: 50 Years of Exploration


by Vanessa Rodriguez, E-Learning & Emerging Technologies Librarian

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the first episode of which aired September 8, 1966. Made by Desilu Productions (owned by Lucille Ball), Star Trek ran for only three seasons before being canceled. But what began as a small low-budget television show grew into a pop culture icon still relevant today.


Promotional photo of the cast of Star Trek during the third season (1968–1969).

The technology appearing on Star Trek inspired scientists and inventors who wanted to create the things they saw on the show. Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to go into space, was inspired by seeing Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, played by Nichelle Nichols. Nichols herself was encouraged to remain on the show by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who stressed the importance of her role to the black community.

Star Trek began as the vision of creator Gene Roddenberry, a former University of Miami student, though he did not complete his degree here. Instead he enlisted in the Air Force and after discharge served as a pilot for Pan Am airways. You can read articles from the Pan Am aircraft crash that he was on as a back-up pilot in our Special Collections Pan Am collection in the library. There is also a collection of Star Trek memorabilia located in the UM Alumni Center library that was donated by Roddenberry’s son.

Gene Roddenberry (left), a former University of Miami student, created Star Trek in partnership with Desilu Productions, owned by Lucille Ball (right).

Majel Barrett, Gene Rodenberry’s wife, also attended the University of Miami though the two did not meet here. Barrett is best known for her roles in Star Trek as Number 1 in the original pilot, Nurse Chapel in the original series, Lwaxana Troi in the Next Generation series, and best of all perhaps, as the voice of the starship Enterprise computer in all the television series to date and most of the movies.

The franchise remains strong today with a new movie, Star Trek Beyond, having just come out this past summer and a new television series, Star Trek Discovery, set to debut next year. You can find the original series, some of the movies, and read more about Star Trek in general at UM Libraries. Here are a few of our selections:

Star Trek (BFI TV Classics)
Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant
The Politics of Star Trek: Justice, War, and the Future

I am Spock
Gene Roddenberry: The Last Conversation

DVD Collection
Star Trek: The Original Series, Season One
Star Trek: The Original Crew Movie Collection
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Special

The Motion Picture: Music from the Original Soundtrack
William Shatner Live