Meet the Librarians: Beverly Mitchell

Schedule a consultation with Beverly or any of your Librarians, now!


The Assistant Director of Hamon Arts Library Beverly Mitchell wears many hats. She is a liaison for the Art and Art History and Dance Departments. She manages the Mildred Hawn Exhibition Gallery. She helps develop Hamon’s collections. In general, Mitchell is a librarian at Southern Methodist University. 

Equipped with two undergraduate degrees in French and International Politics from Texas Christian University and two graduate degrees in English with a Creative Writing Specialization and Library Science from the University of North Texas Denton, Mitchell got a job at the Dallas Museum of Art in the Imaging and Library departments. One of her primary duties was cataloging images. She would spend hours poring over image after image, around 1000 or more images a week. Yet, cataloging never seemed like a chore because Mitchell “enjoyed the exposure and that work with images.”  

She also liked working reference at the DMA. “I like those challenges of people coming in and asking for something and trying to find it for them,” she said. “And [reference] still continues to be something I really like in my position here.  

When Mitchell got to SMU, she was able to put her degree in library science and expansive knowledge of art to good use. “When this position became open in 2005, I was thrilled because could really apply a lot of my knowledge in art to this position because [of my duty as] a liaison to the art and art history and apartment,” she said. “Since then, this position sort of expanded into other areas of responsibilities.” 

One of the areas students might not know that Mitchell helps with is the Hawn Gallery. She helps the Hawn Gallery curatorial fellows find new exhibitions.  

R3clamation: Routes & Roots, An Installation by Basil Kincaid, Performance image, October 28, 2016.
R3clamation: Routes & Roots, An Installation by Basil Kincaid, Performance image, October 28, 2016.

Mitchell’s favorite exhibition featured Basil Kincaid’s R3clamation: Routes & Roots installation and performance. “It was our very first exhibition with our new curatorial fellow Georgia Ergerand [Kincaid] installed quilts that he made,” she said. “He did a performance piece which was supposed to be very short, like 20 to 30 minutes but ended up being an hour and a half longI still think about that performance piece. [Kincaid] had his cousin who was professional hairdresser cut his hair in the gallery space. It’s really unusual, and it really activated the space. 

Her favorite part about working at SMU is the freedom. “I’ve been able to work somewhat independently and think about how I can strategically attain those goals that you want to achieve in your areas of responsibility,” she said. “This position allows for a lot of independence but also allows for a lot of creativity too. I don’t know ifwhile in library school, [the professors] really emphasizeor exposed you to the creative possibilities of working as a librarian.” 





Interview conducted by Author Wren Lee, SMU ’22 Creative Computation and Film and Media Arts Pre-Major and Fondren Library Marketing Department Student Assistant

Fondren Library study space quiz

Encompassing a large swath to the east of Dallas Hall, Fondren Library is a space of many nooks and crannies. With all of these different places to study, it might be hard to choose exactly which one works best for you.  

Behold the study space quiz that will solve the answer to this riddle. 

Post and quiz created by SMU Libraries Marketing Student Worker, Wren Lee ’22

Welcome Holly Jeffcoat, Dean of SMU Libraries

Dean Holly JeffcoatHolly E. Jeffcoat is the first Dean of SMU Libraries. Formerly the Associate Dean of UConn Library at the University of Connecticut where she was responsible for leading information technology, patron services, planning and core library operations, Holly assumed the role of Dean in August of 2018. Her vision for the newly established SMU Libraries includes creating a customized and responsive scholarly information and research environment in support of SMU’s pursuit of becoming a premier research and teaching university with global impact.


She began her library career as the Library Director for the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galapagos, Ecuador. She has also held positions at the University Of New Mexico College Of University Libraries and Learning Sciences as well as the UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center.

Holly has published and presented on variety of scholarly communication topics, translational science support, use of virtual reality in education, and collection development in health sciences. Holly is a founding creator of BLC Leads, a leadership program for mid-career librarians in the Boston area and continues to serve as a program mentor. She is currently a member of the prestigious 2017-18 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Library Leadership Fellows Program.

Holly received her M.A. in Information Resource and Library Science from the University of Arizona, her M.S. in Sociology from Utah State University and her B.A. in Psychology from Greensboro College.

New Here? 3 Ways to Get Research Help from SMU Libraries

Whether you’re a first-year college student, starting graduate school, or you’ve been here for a while and want help navigating the library’s resources, SMU Libraries can help.

Ask Us

We are here to answer your questions –from booking a study room to academic publishing. There are a lot of ways you can contact us, online or in person:

• Chat

• Email

• Phone

• At the Desk

Look for the red Ask Us tab on the right side of our website. You can send us a message right away. If chat isn’t available, don’t give up.  Check out our FAQs or send us an email. We will get back to you as soon as we can!

Screen Shot of SMU Libraries Main Page with Ask Us button on the right
Click on the red button (hint: it’s on the right)

Research Guides

Use subject guides to find the top databases and resources for your field, recommended by your subject librarian. They are a great place to start your research, and have links to in-depth guides on a variety of research topics. If you need more help, you can make an appointment with your librarian directly from the page. Just click the red Schedule an Appointment button to get individualized research help, face-to-face or online.

Screen Shot of Subject Librarian with schedule an appointment button
Look for this box to easily make an appointment

Research Workshops

Did you recently transfer to SMU? We have Research Essentials for Transfer Students workshop just for you.

Need an intro to graduate level research? Try Library 6001: Graduate Research Essentials. 

Want to learn how to manage your citations? Our RefWorks workshop is offered multiple times a semester.

We have research workshops aimed at all skill and comfort levels. Check out our full lineup.

Library Survey for Graduate Students

Graduate Students, We need your help. The Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship (ADV 6372) course is conducting a survey as part of their SMU Libraries case. They are helping us learn how to effectively tell graduate students, like you, about the libraries’ valuable services and resources.

Help us help you by taking the survey before April 6th.

The survey only takes about 8 minutes to complete. We appreciate your time and feedback!

Need Book Recommendations? We Have a Recreational Reading Guide!

Central University Libraries knows that you don’t just love us because we are a great place to study and research, but it’s because we have some awesome Book Recommendations too! Take advantage of one of our favorite guides, The Recreational Reading Guide, now available on line! Continue reading “Need Book Recommendations? We Have a Recreational Reading Guide!”

Black History Month 35mm Screenings from The Jones Film Collection

In collaboration with Bridwell Library, the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection will be hosting four 35mm screenings, each Thursday during February, as part of Black History Month.

Each film is part of The Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection, which is housed within the Jones Collection.

The Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection comprises 6 short subjects, 9 features, and a set of newsreels, all produced between 1935 and 1956. The African-American films include comedies, dramas, news, and musical performances, and were made outside the Hollywood system by pioneering directors and producers such as Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, and William Alexander.

Each 35mm screening will start at 4:30pm in the Greer Garson Screening Room in Owen Arts Center and will include special introductions

  • February 1, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. – The Blood of Jesus with an introduction by Timothy Binkley and Dr. Rick Worland
  • February 8, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. – Short Films of the Tyler Collection including Broken Earth, Boogie Woogie Blues, The Vanities, and an excerpt from Where’s My Man, Tonight? with and introduction by Dr. Sean Griffin
  • February 15, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. – Miracle in Harlem with an introduction by Dr. Rick Worland
  • February 22, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. – Juke Joint with an introduction by TBD

All are welcome and each screening is FREE to attend. For more information on the archive, please contact


You Want Longer Hours!? You Can HAVE longer Hours!

You Spoke and We Listened

Interim Dean and Director of Central University Libraries, Elizabeth Killingsworth announces longer hours for Fondren Library for the beginning of the Spring Semester:

“It’s exciting, we were able to extend the hours in the first three weeks of the semester and stay open until midnight instead of closing at 9pm. This is in response to many, many student requests. We’ve hired a part-time night-weekend staff member to make this happen. And it’s a little easier in the spring because students who were trained in the fall are coming back to work. If you or your fellow students have any other ideas or suggestions for ways to make your lives better, just let us know. We’re always happy to help.

Happy new year! I hope you’re having a great semester!”

The Impact of Information Literacy Instruction on Student Success

Librarians’ Role in the Academic Mission of the University

We acknowledge that librarians add value to a university’s academic mission. However, there is very little concrete evidence in support of librarians’ contributions to the advancement of academic excellence, unlike the documentation of student learning, which is required for accreditation purposes. The evidence that does exist is all too often anecdotal, case studies, or broad statements of confidence that do not afford further scrutiny of facts and figures.

The pursuit of reliable quantitative data in support of librarians’ contribution to academic excellence was one of the primary motivations behind the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) task force and research project on student success outcomes.  SMU began participating in this research project during the research design phase in the Summer of 2014. Over the course of the next year, 12 institutions gathered data across the nation. Those participating institutions presented academic outcomes of all first-year first-time students from librarians’ course-related instruction sessions.

GWLA has released the results in the form of a research paper entitled “The Impact of Information Literacy Instruction on Student Success: A Multi-Institutional Investigation and Analysis,” which can be found in SMU Scholar at

Significant Effects of Library Instruction

A multi-institutional study of this scope is the largest of its kind. A big challenge was compiling the data to be consistent across all 12 institutions, aligning everything into one large dataset. Compiling the complete library instruction data and student coursework data for all first-year cohorts is no small task. The goal was to find quantitative answers to these four research questions:

  • What effect does library instruction have on retention?
  • What effect does library instruction have on academic success?
  • Which specific library instruction methods have the greatest impact on retention?
  • What effect does specific library instruction interactions have on academic success?

The consistent positive results for the first year of the study are very encouraging.  Of the 12 participating institutions, 8 showed highly significant statistical results indicating a positive association between library instruction and retention. Fisher’s Exact Test is the basis for these results.

The Findings

This study used First-Year GPA and First-Year Hours Earned as the measures of academic success. Both measures showed higher results for students who had courses with library instruction than students who did not. More importantly, the statistical analysis of these measures shows the increase to be highly significant.  Students enrolled in courses with library instruction had, on average, 0.02 higher GPA than those that did not.  Students enrolled in courses with library instruction had on average 1.8 more credit hours earned in the first year than students who were not enrolled in courses with library instruction. As stated in the GWLA research paper summarizing the results, “the significance of this latter finding is extreme, (p-value) = 7.69E-102.”  The results are based on Student’s t-Test for equality of means using the combined dataset representing all 12 institutions.

What about SMU?

The research paper does not reveal specific results for SMU, but the indicators of academic success mirror the results found for the GWLA participating institutions as a whole.  On average, the GPA of students enrolled in courses with library instruction was 0.04 points higher than those not so enrolled, and they earned on average 1 full credit hour more.  The SMU result for earned credit hours was statistically significant, with a p-value of 0.002.

The complete description, analysis, and summary results for the GWLA research study can be found at

Post Contributed by CUL’s Director of Assessment Zoltan Szentkiralyi

Building a Digital Collection for Academic Research

A digital collection, which can contain just a few or thousands of items, can be an incredibly useful tool for a researcher who needs a searchable database of digital files relating to an academic project or area of interest. For example, you may visit multiple archives and obtain dozens or hundreds of digitized documents, images, and audio-visual files as background information for a book or article.

A digital collection would allow you to:

Never Were Two Pieces of Indian Pottery Exactly Alike, [page 52 and 53], 1920, from American Indians: First families of the Southwest by the Fred Harvey Co.
  •    Search and retrieve these files in a single repository,
  •    Make items available to other researchers and/or the public through a link
  •    Preserve the information over the long-run.
  •    Use innovative ancillary applications, like mapping and digital exhibits.

Creating a digital collection is not difficult, but it does require planning. Three main components make up a digital collection:

  1. digitization,
  2. cataloging/metadata creation
  3. digital collections software

Software, such as, allows people to view the digital files and their corresponding, searchable metadata record together.

If you would like to learn how to build a digital collection, register for our two-part workshop, Workshop: Build A Digital Collection, Part 1 and Workshop: Build A Digital Collection, Part 2, held September 7 (12:00-1:00) and September 8 (1:00-3:00). Please remember to register for both parts.

The Norwick Center for Digital Solutions (nCDS), a unit of Central University Libraries (CUL), is making available online tens of thousands of items from CUL special collections, including the DeGolyer Library and Bywaters Special Collections, in the CUL Digital Collections web site. CUL Digital Collections have received millions of hits and are being used in hundreds of research projects both at SMU and around the world.

nCDS offers advice and training to faculty, students, and staff on how to create digital collections. We also offer a Digital Humanities practicum on digital collections development. For more information, contact Cindy Boeke, Digital Collections Librarian,