Gilbert, April (University Library) is Stepping Beyond

“In September 2017, April Gilbert, SJSU Library’s Institutional Repository Coordinator, learned of a Columbia University effort to host a “mapathon”, an event harnessing open-source mapping of Puerto Rico for the benefit of relief agencies on the ground in the wake of Hurricane Maria. According to Alex Gil, the Columbia event’s organizer, FEMA and other agencies are having difficulties locating damaged areas in Puerto Rico due to insufficient mapping. Following the hashtag #prmapathon, April found that West Coast participation in this effort was lacking, so she began promoting it to SJSU Library colleagues as an opportunity for our for our library to collaborate with the campus community and other organizations to aid in the Hurricane Maria recovery effort. Libraries at other colleges have also followed Columbia’s lead holding similar events, including Boston University, Rutgers, University of Miami, University of Alaska – Fairbanks, Trinity College, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and now, thanks to April, San Jose State University Library on Friday, October 13, 2017. The #prmapathon events have been well attended, and have been lauded on PBS NewsHour and in The New York Times. April’s efforts have driven this library event, providing the chance for the SJSU community to join those other institutions making a difference in helping Puerto Rico’s recovery.” — Carole Correa-Morris

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