This spotlight is from the Spring 2020 issue of Connections, the magazine of Syracuse University Libraries. Jeffery Mangram is an associate professor of social studies education and received both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the School of Education.
“With the assistance of SU librarians, as an undergraduate at Syracuse University in the fall of 1987, I learned to educate myself. The librarians taught me how to think conceptually about locating information, using the nascent digital databases as well as the old fashioned systems to find articles, journals and books. It was a magical and empowering journey! Using microfiche to find news stories and articles from decades ago was exhilatarating! I now could attain and read all the writings of W.E.B. DuBois or John Dewey. I lived in the stacks, learning to read historical texts in a more strategic and informative manner. I learned that knowledge was layered but not linear, that at times there were “breaks” in knowledge chain that shifted the paradigms around information. I learned that ideas had a contested history.
Understanding how to locate and trace the origins of ideas and knowledge, I became not only self-assured in the fact that there was no information that was unattainable to me, but also that I now had professionals who were invested in showing me novel ways to get to use that information. Knowledge is power. But we must never forget that we have to seek that knowledge.
I am forever indebted to SU librarians for helping me attain these research skills! My students and my own children have benefited from these research skills that have so enriched my intellectual life.”