All posts by Joe Terrana

Diversity is the Spice of Life

Imagine a world where everything was the same.

All the flowers are the same, all the trees. All the people are the same color, and everyone thinks the same thing.

It may sound ideal at first, but think about it. Deeply. Where would we be if this “utopia” existed? Would we have progressed so much as a society without challenges to the ‘norm’?

Tesla vs. Edison

For some reason, I am intrigued by the 1880’s debate between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. I really couldn’t tell you who ultimately won that debate. Tesla’s AC power, alternating current, reigned supreme for a while but considering that the very device you’re reading this blog from is Edison’s DC power, direct current, now we have a toss-up. Certainly, we all benefit from that “war” and can appreciate how they were both challenged to improve and learn everything they could about their new, opposing ideas!


Let’s consider the potato. You’ve likely eaten them in some fashion. Beyond being mashed, fried, or made into a salad, did you know that according to the International Potato Center: CIP, “there are over 4,000” edible “potato varieties”? This amazing veggie/starch is versatile enough to be used for everything from filling our bellies to removing rust to making alcohol to…you get my point. 

Electricity or potatoes, all of these varieties of thought and people willing to think outside of what has been established, propel us forward toward better, best, and great!

My challenge to you

Surround yourself with people from a wide range of thoughts, cultures, races, and even politics. We need to be challenged. If you’re on a team, have a rotating member (not the same person all the time) be the naysayer. This practice allows the quiet team member to begin to think and engage with the team rather than just go along. And your usual naysayer will learn how to accept thoughts not his/her own. You and your team will be better for it.

I just experienced this myself when I invited my husband to critique this post. I cringed at some of his edits for sure but I understand the end result. Inviting differing persons and ideas into your life may at first feel unnatural, cause you to recoil into a defensive posture, but be patient. Listen. Understand. Think deeply.  After all, diversity is the spice of life.

Rosie White is a Library Services Paraprofessional with the SPC Libraries & Learning Resources team at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

Spring Into Art showcases student art

The Learning Resources Center of St. Petersburg College, Tarpon Springs Campus, along with the Palm Harbor Library hosted its first annual student art show, Spring Into Art.

The heart design, which was used for the marketing of the art show, was a collaboration of 3D flowers made by staff members from both libraries. Each participant made a 3D flower, which was joined together into a structure of a heart.  The heart structure was chosen because libraries are the heart of our communities.

The scope of students from the local community included 9-12 grades and college students that either attend SPC or visit the Palm Harbor Library. The goal was to jury the submissions and then have the selected art on display at the Palm Harbor Library in March and then moved for display at St. Petersburg College in April. 

Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 outbreak and a stay-at-home order in place, the art show had to be delayed. Since the college is not reopening this semester, the art show was designed and shared virtually on the college’s Workplace platform and will be on display at the Palm Harbor Library for the entirety of June. Please be sure to check the Palm Harbor Library website for reopening hours and guidelines before your visit.

As you can see from the sampling in the header image, the fantastic artwork selected is very impressive. Our young artists with seasoned skills used several different mediums.

We hope you enjoy this inspirational art break.  Thank you to our talented artist.

Carol Coleman is a Senior Administrative Services Assistant with the St. Petersburg College Libraries & Learning Resources team.

Poems for Your Homes

The art of poetry has been around since the moment we began to write on stone tablets and cave walls. From the scrolls of the prophecy to ancient China the written verse has played an integral part in our human condition.

We learn about Shakespeare in school and many of us are required to memorize certain passages or sonnets. Followed closely by poetry the balladeers and troubadours of the past put many famous poems and sonnets to song and traveled around the countryside singing these verses of love, loss, war, and sometimes bawdy humor in taverns and pubs across the land.

Not to downplay the utility and permanence of stone, we now have the ability to read these poems for ourselves from the comfort of our own homes without the need to venture to a dreary pub filled with miscreants and ne’er-do-wells. But our modern era hasn’t diminished the poignancy and relevancy of these poems, so, without further ado, we present a small list of poems for your home available in the SPC online library.

And one student even has a playlist to go with it for your listening pleasure.

The Classics

  • A group of poems by Robert Frost
  • Poems by T.S. Eliot
  • Collected Poems by Emily Dickinson

Contemporary Poets

  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • The Tennis Court Oath: A book of poems by John Ashbery
  • Loose Sugar by Bread Hillman

Storytelling Through Poems (narrative poetry)

  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • The Divine Comedy: Inferno by Dante Alighieri


  • The Poetry of Business Life: An Anthology by Ralph Windle
  • Israeli Poetry: A Contemporary Anthology; curated by Warren Bargad and Stanley F. Chyet
  • El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry curated by Martin Espada

Why do we write Poetry?

  • Why We Write – streaming through the library
  • Want to write your own?
  • Poetry: the basics by Jeffery Wainwright
  • Poetry by John Strachan and Richard Terry

Eat Your Words; exceptional food novels

By Rosie White

Eat your words. Really. It’s time to admit you may have been wrong about what those words mean. I mean, find a good book, and cook it. If you’re looking for something to do while limited to being indoors, I’d like to suggest some books and food novels with not just a good story, but also some good recipes that might be fun to try. Goodreads has a great list of them.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Access your library’s online resources. Plus, there are literally thousands of free books available to you all within reach of your smartphone, tablet or computer.  The following references will help get you started on setting up your own virtual library without spending a dime.

  1.  Download the “Kindle”, “Nook” and “Google Play Books” app.  These apps are all free to download and open the door to tons of free books.
  2. Go through the resources below and find what works for you and your student.


Embark on a Recipe Safari with SPC

By Heather Holtzman

Are you looking to spice up your virtual learning? Tour the world as we celebrate diversity through food and fun recipes in the new online series, Diversity and Databases. By participating in the activity, you’ll be entered to win prizes!  

Using our Global Road Warrior database, we will travel to different countries exploring the food and culture.  Every Friday, a new recipe will be revealed from the Global Road Warrior database. The posts will include a link to the database, which provides a list of ingredients and step-by-step directions. The posts will also feature cooking demos created by Student Life and the Learning Resources teams.

Try the recipes yourself and join the conversation by sharing your thoughts and experiences. You can share your creation by posting a picture in the comments section of the post. If you’re not ready to cook, you can still participate in the challenge by visiting the Global Road Warrior database to read about the country and post an interesting fact that you learned.  

Share your own attempt at the recipes to earn a passport stamp! We’ll keep track of your stamps for you. Students with the most stamps at end of the series will be entered to win a prize! 

First Stop, South Africa

Our food travels will begin in South Africa with Heather Holtzman, as she recreates her version of butternut squash soup from the Global Road Warrior database. The recipe is versatile, allowing students to choose from the cooking methods and ingredients available to them. Heather’s version is loaded with bacon, garlic, onions, coconut milk, and bone broth—yum! Videos, pictures, and helpful tips are included to make the cooking process simple! 

Don’t forget to check SPC Titans Central on Workplace every Friday for a new recipe reveal. Upcoming locations include China, Bangladesh, France, Mexico, Peru, Russia, and Morocco. What are you waiting for? Chop, chop!

Learn More

Watch the Series Promo Video (Must be signed into Workplace) 

Try the First Recipe (Must be signed into Workplace) 

Visit Global Road Warrior (Must be signed into student account) 

Five Unusual eBooks in SPC’s Giant Virtual Collection

There is a time for serious research and scholarly pursuits, and St. Petersburg College has over 70,000 digital ways for every student (and faculty and staff!) to dig deep into everything from particle physics to gene editing. But we shouldn’t forget other noble pursuits like Lady Gaga, UFOs, or an in-depth academic examination of cult cinema. Here are five eBook gems picked from many odd and unusual eBooks that you can peruse for a taste of the weird and unusual.

How could we have a post about the strange and unusual without diving right off the deep end into the paranormal? Jump into this eBook about paranormal investigations and find out more about your local ghosts and poltergeists. Just don’t read this before bed!

If you can think of a topic, you can bet there exists an encyclopedia or dictionary about it. The Prince of Darkness himself? Oh yes, here we have Satanism Today; the encyclopedia. Why is the food we all love so bad for us? Maybe he has something to do with it.

Many of us search for the best pizza or the finest coffee or other endeavors like the best performance of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.  But not author Michael Adams. This intrepid soul ventures out into the wilds of the worst movies ever made and attempts to narrow it down to one. Let the impossible task begin.

Here is another encyclopedia filling a dire need for knowledge. Angels, fairies, hollow-earth inhabitants, and other fantastical creatures that dwell among inter-dimensional spaces are waiting for you to discover. Let’s see if they give the same vigorous research time into Florida’s own Skunk Ape or the St. Pete Mini Lights. Doubtful.

Here we have the first (and most likely only) in-depth academic examination into cult cinema. The audience that watches cult cinema looks to be as intriguing as the subject itself. The cover of the somber-looking fellow sporting the tall white hat surrounded by goats is a strong indication of the seriousness of the subject matter.

As a sixth-place runner up we have a book about the Coen brothers and their off-beat and quirky films. Many Zen practitioners cite the Dude’s journey in the Big Lebowski as an influential, albeit profanity-laced, movie about practicing Zen and being in the moment. But that’s just, like, their opinion, man.

Don’t forget that you can access the SPC Virtual Library by logging into your student account. From the single sign-on page go to our library link and you’re already logged in.

The Virtual Library is Open!

Stuck at home and need a book? Do you have to read a specific paper for class? Are there articles and research papers you need access to? St. Petersburg College has vast amounts of resources available from the comfort of your own couch. Our enormous list of online resources is available for every enrolled student and they are waiting for you right now in the virtual library. It’s easy!

Log in to your student account and from the single sign-on page go to our library link and you’re already logged in. You can easily access any of our databases A–Z or search for specific ones.

If you need a book but only want eBook results, simply search for the book you want, let’s say Biology books.  When the results appear just click on the amount available online number and voila, a listing of every eBook we have on almost any subject you can think of. We even have an eBook on Justin Timberlake!

Journal articles and research papers work much the same way.  Search for whatever you need by clicking on the articles tab. Then when the results display, look to the left side and you’ll see an option for “Articles from scholarly publications including peer-reviewed” which, when clicked, will list all the peer-reviewed articles for your particular search.

Many of these results will even have a way to save the references directly to a file or folder of your choice allowing you to collate your reference a bit easier when you begin writing your paper.

Lastly, our databases have a plethora of subjects that SPC subscribes to which will enable you to view everything from art and science to business and nursing. Again, as long as you are logged in through your SPC account, you can click on any database listed and it’ll open right up.

If you aren’t logged in, don’t worry! Our library and learning resource page will ask you for credentials upon viewing the links.  It’s just a tad easier through your account. Either way, we are virtually here to help you with that amazing paper on Justin Timberlake.

Vinyl Fever at the SPC Gibbs Library

Neon Cover of a vinyl record in front of a red lava lamp.;

The return of the vinyl record.  Is it a reaction to our digital dependency?  Does it stem from hipsters touting the bouquet of IPAs and fixed gear bikes?  Is it plain old nostalgia?  You should come find out for yourself at our SPC Gibbs Library location where the is an ever growing collection of new and old albums which are being cataloged and displayed in Retro Joe’s café located on the second floor.

One of our librarians, Chad Mairn is assembling a collection of vinyl records ranging from classic Jazz and Big band to Avant guard, Punk, and New Pop.  Each album that is cataloged can be checked out for a period of seven days and brought home to listen to and maybe even make a mix cassette tape for your tape deck.  However, you don’t need to check out the records to enjoy them since there are new turn tables with high quality stereo mixers and headphones right in the café.  Just pick an album and enjoy dropping the needle on a record and listening to analog music in all its uncompressed glory.  Quick fact; calculated growth of new vinyl is poised to outsell compact discs for the first time since 1986 at some point this year.  That speaks volumes.  (oh yes, I punned it up.)

A key component to enjoying an album in our library or your own home is the fact that albums aren’t portable and allows the listener to slow down and pay attention to the music as an active participant.  They can’t be placed on your arm while running or played as background music for the train ride into work.  Not that digital music is bad per se.  In fact, digital music has revolutionized how we listen to and store our music.  But the rise of vinyl record sales and new turn tables points to a different type of listening; active listening.  The listener has to take the time to place the record on the table, choose the time to listen, and turn it over when the albums reaches the end of a side.  And there is a certain magic about knowing that tiny valley on a flat piece of plastic can create such beautiful music. 

So stop by the SPC Gibbs Library and see what all the hub-bub is about.

SPC Learning Centers offer tutoring, assistance to students

It’s a new year, a new semester, and a chance for a fresh start. Why not make visits to the SPC libraries and learning centers part of your new routine? Each library and learning center offers a wide variety of ways and opportunities to hone your knowledge and skills, including tutoring.

Math giving you problems? Stroll over to the Clearwater Campus and give the math tutors a visit to help you with your first Algebra II assignment. Pre-Calc giving you fits? Tarpon Springs has a beautiful open library and learning center to get you going in the right direction. Geometry has you spinning in circles? The Seminole Campus can set you straight with a little slice of pi. And the Downton Center has a new smartboard that gives you the ability to download real-time tutoring directions as the problem is being solved on the smartboard.

So your research paper has some grammar problems? The SP/Gibbs Library Writing Center can assist you with spelling and the organization of the paper. SPC even has Spanish tutors at certain times for instruction as well as other specialty workshops. The Seminole Campus has workshops ranging from Algebra II to A & P.

Many opportunities are available to allow you, the enrolled student, to achieve a high level of success that is well within your grasp. Each tutor is knowledgeable in their area of expertise and they are willing and able to explain how to understand and ultimately teach yourself the material needed for your particular degree or certificate.

To learn more about SPC’s libraries and learning centers, visit

Join SPC for Tutoring, Workshops and more

When our students need help, we’re here to get it done. St. Petersburg College has a robust and effective tutoring program that all of our enrolled students are free to utilize.  From biology and chemistry to writing and math, each campus has a knowledgeable tutor that can assist in a wide variety of areas.

Two St. Petersburg College students attending tutoring with a specialist. They are surrounded by various health education tools, such as anatomical models, fake skulls, and organ replicas.

What do we offer?

Highlighted during their recent grand-opening, the Downtown Campus offers a collaborative area with modern study tools. It has a smart-board with the ability to turn normal whiteboard demonstrations into a real time video that students can save on their smart devises.  Now, learning resource tutors can work-out long equations and chemical derivations in real time and the students can re-watch this for studying purposes at any time.

Additionally, we also host workshops on various campuses for specific areas of learning, such as:

  • ‘Online Spanish Language’ workshops
  • ‘APA Citation’ workshops
  • ‘Finding the Right Database’ workshops
  • ‘Google Scholar’ workshops
  • …and the list goes on and on!

Dedication and hard work, with focused study and instruction, result in the power to succeed.

If you are a student, please visit our Learning Centers to meet our instruction specialists for tutoring! If you’re unable to make it out, our website offers research guides, a virtual learning commons, “Ask A Librarian,” and more. We’ll help you capture the utmost of your ability here at St Petersburg College.