Philip H. Kitchens Endowment established for science and technology resources

Philip H. Kitchens

The Philip H. Kitchens Endowment will provide for the acquisition of science and technology resources for the LSU Libraries in perpetuity, thanks to his generous gift to the Libraries. Kitchens, whose varied education includes degrees in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and library science and whose career path includes stints at NASA, the University of Alabama, and the Redstone Scientific Information Center, was possessed of a fascination for the American space program that was not uncommon for children of the mid-20th century. Time and circumstance allowed him to realize the dream in more than one way.

Kitchens grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana. His father was a forester and served as executive director of the Louisiana Forestry Association. Kitchens majored in chemical engineering at Louisiana Tech, graduating in 1967. As his graduation approached, aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun made a presentation in Shreveport, and Phil’s father took him to hear the famous rocketeer, who mesmerized the audience with his vision. Afterward, they went to the podium to meet von Braun in person, and Kitchens was hooked.

Von Braun not only inspired Kitchens’ romance with aerospace engineering but personally invited him to the NASA team that put America on the moon. He applied and was accepted to work at NASA, arriving just months after the catastrophic fire that claimed the lives of astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee. Kitchens worked for NASA’s Apollo program during a period that included both profound tragedy and sublime triumph. Those experiences have shaped his life and worldview. Among the missions that Kitchens supported were Apollo 8, the first human astronautic mission to the moon (a.k.a., the famous Genesis scripture-reading mission); Apollo 11, the first mission to land humans on the moon; and Apollo 13, the near-tragedy that was averted only by creativity and grace. Kitchens remembers that being an eyewitness to the launch of Apollo 11 atop the awesome Saturn V launch vehicle was an electric, exhilarating, mindboggling, almost-spiritual experience for him that left a massive, ongoing impact for life. His memories of those times are vivid and visceral.

“I am most grateful that I contributed to the success of Apollo,” recounts Kitchens, “if I had been born just two years later, it wouldn’t have happened! Being part of the 7,000-person team at Marshall Space Flight Center, and one of the 400,000-person nationwide NASA team – those are truly two ‘memberships’ that are infinitely meaningful to this day.”

As the ’70s progressed, congressional support for the space program diminished exponentially. Congressional appropriations were cut, the final Apollo missions were scrubbed, and the team of 400,000 was reduced accordingly. Kitchens found himself among many former NASA employees who had lost not only employment but the sense of intense common purpose and collegiality that had given meaning to their lives. Back in Louisiana, Kitchens worked briefly in traditional chemical engineering but found it unfulfilling. As he considered his options, the graduate library science program at LSU strongly piqued his interest.

“I was seeking my identity,” Kitchens notes. “My father often said ‘anything worth doing is worth doing well’ and I followed its logical corollary ‘what one enjoys, one will probably do well.'” Realizing he had always been a book lover, and that he was comfortable and confident in the library environment, he entered the program.

“The curriculum, at least in the first-semester reference course, forced me to go into the stacks in order to do the assignments. It was then, in a certain subtle way, that I ‘talked to the books’ and they would talk back to me. By the time I left GSLS (LSU’s Graduate School of Library Science) for the Engineering Library at the University of Alabama, there had arisen a spontaneous, reflexive image within me, and I could meld with that image in the working world. To this day the image persists and I sustain, even in retired life, the application of the fundamentals that GSLS embedded in me when chasing an endless emergence of new curiosities via research. As a person-oriented to research, I ‘toe the line’ with personal discipline in the use of those fundamentals which trace back to GSLS.”

Although he has added the discipline of library science to his repertoire, Kitchens has retained his grounding in engineering and science and sees the skill sets as inseparable. He observes that most engineering practitioners will declare themselves to be problem solvers. Problem solving requires information resources, and strong information resources contribute to robust problem solving. This, in essence, is what inspired him to make his gift to LSU Libraries.

“By encouraging the future scientists and engineers, perhaps even in aerospace, I hope to catalyze their occupational paths, each to an eventual personal, individual internal sense of fulfillment.”

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Recent faculty publications


Kelsey, Sigrid, ed. Fostering Student Success: Academic, Social, and Financial Initiatives, ALA Editions, 2022.


O’Neill, Brittany. “Do They Know It When They See It?: Natural Language Preferences of Undergraduate Students for Library Resources,” College & Undergraduate Libraries. Volume 28, Issue 2 (2021).

O’Neill, Brittany and Rebecca Kelley. “Delivering Bad News: Crisis Communication Methods in Academic Libraries,” College & Research Libraries, Volume 82, Issue 3 (May 2021).

Connel, Ruth Sara; Lisa C. Wallis; David Comeaux. “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Use of Academic Library Resources,” Information Technology and Libraries. Volume 40, Issue 2 (2021).

O’Neill, B. (2021).”Three-layer primary source dip: Introducing history students to primary source research through active learning.” In The teaching with primary sources cookbook, edited by J. M. Porterfield, 16-18. Association of College & Research Libraries, 2021.


Blessinger, Kelly and Dave Comeaux. “User Experience with a New Public Interface for an Integrated Library System,” Information Technology in Libraries. Volume 39, Issue 1.

Cramer, Jennifer A. “First, Do No Harm”: Tread Carefully Where Oral History, Trauma, and Current Crises Intersect,” The Oral History Review, 47:2 (2020): 203-213, DOI: 10.1080/00940798.2020.1793679

Diamond, Tom, ed. The Academic Librarian in the Digital Age: Essays on Changing Roles and Responsibilities. McFarland, 2020.

Kelley, Rebecca and Mitch Fontenot. “Serving our Student Veterans in Louisiana,” Louisiana Libraries. Volume 82, Issue 2 (Spring 2020).

Kuyper-Rushing, Lois.A Thematic Index of Works by Eugene Bozza, A-R Editions, 2020.

Lounsberry, Megan. “Troubleshooting electronic resources from an ILL perspective,” Technical Services Quarterly, Volume 37, Issue 3.

McDonald, Ebony. “2020 Regina Medal Recipient Christopher Paul Curtis,” Catholic Library World. 

Miles, John David.  “James Harrison and the Tensas Troubles of 1878,” Civil War Book Review: Volume 22, Issue 1 (Winter 2020).

Morgan, Randa Lopez. 2020. “Supporting Student Wellness and Success through the LSU Libraries Relaxation Room.Journal of Library Outreach and Engagement v. 1, no. 1: 104–115.


Batte, Elizabeth; David Dunaway; Emily Frank; Sarah Mazur; and Laurie Phillips. “LOUIS Membership with Open Textbook Network Brings Incentive for Faculty OER Advocacy on Campuses,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Borchardt, Rachel; Polly Boruff-Jones; Sigrid Kelsey; and Jennifer Matthews, “A Proposed Framework for the Evaluation of Academic Librarian Scholarship” (2019). Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference.

Comeaux, Dave;  Emily Frank; and Mike Waugh. “Supporting Student Success: E-books as Course Materials,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Dunaway, David. “Bibliometrics for Faculty Evaluation: A Stastical Comparison of h-indexes Generated Using Google Scholar and Web of Science Data,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Haber, Natalie, Melissa Cornwell, & Andrea Hebert. “This worksheet works: Making the DLS Standards work for you,” College & Research Libraries News. 

Hawk, Amanda K. “Implementing Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries,” Proceedings of the 2018 Library Assessment Conference, (Association of Research Libraries, 2019): 836-843.

Hebert, Andrea and Jodi Duet. “’I’m Really Confident I Can Find the Exact IKEA Pillow’: A Qualitative Look at the Search Self-Efficacy of Graduating MLIS Students,” Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian.

Lounsberry, Megan. “No Textbooks Allowed! (Unless You’re a Graduate Student!): Louisiana State University Pilots an ILL Textbook Service. Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve, 28 (3/4): 61–73.

Miles, John David. “Colfax, Kate Grant, and the Domestication of Reconstruction’s Violence,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 2 (Spring 2019).

Miles, John David. “The Loyalty of West Point’s Graduates Debated,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 1 (Winter 2019).

Miller, Marty. “Curriculum, Departmental, and Faculty Mapping in the Visual Arts Department,” Art Documentation, Volume 38, Issue 1 (March 2019): 159-173.

Morgan, Randa L. “Libraries and Gardens: Growing Together.” Catholic Library World, Volume 90, Issue 1 (September 2019): 68.

O’Neill, Brittany; and  Allen LeBlanc. “Evaluating Trends in Instruction Scheduling Management: A Survey of Louisiana’s Academic Libraries,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “The Moon Belongs to Everyone:  ResearchGate and Subscription Databases Compared.”  Louisiana Libraries. Volume 81, Issue 3, (Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “Information Literacy through Service Learning” in Library Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of Life.  Fannie M. Cox, Henry R. Cunningham, and Vickie Hines-Martin, eds., 2019.

Simms, Sarah; Hayley Johnson. “Hidden in Plain Sight,” 64 Parishes (Magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities). Issue 4 (Summer 2019).

Simms, S., & Johnson, H. Subtle activism: Using the library exhibit as a social justice tool, Alexandria, Volume 29, Issue 1-2 (2019).

Ziegler, Scott; and Cara Key. “More Than a Pretty Interface: The Louisiana Digital Library as a Data Hub,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Ziegler, S.L. “Digitization Selection Criteria as Anti-Racist Action,” Code4Lib Journal. Issue 45 (2019).

Ziegler, S.L. and Steve Martin. “A Hidden Gem Becomes a Fertile Mining Ground: Historic Prison Admission Books and Data-Driven Digital Projects,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Volume 143, Issue 3 (October 2019): 363-373.


Hebert, Andrea. “Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Library and Information Science Graduate Students: An Exploratory Study,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2018).

Miller, Marty. “Sacred vs. Profane in The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment: Louis Raemaekers’s Use of Religious Imagery in Adoration of the Magi and Our Lady of Antwerp.” Catholic Library World, vol. 89, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 20–32.

Rasmussen, Hans. “The Life and Death of Raquette in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans,” Sport History Review 49 (May 2018): 23-38.

Wilder, Stanley. “Delayed Retirements and the Youth Movement among ARL Library Professionals,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Hiring and Staffing Trends in ARL Libraries,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Selected Demographic Trends in the ARL Professional Population,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Ziegler, Scott; and Richard Shrake. “PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts,” Information Technology and Libraries, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018).


Caminita, C.; Cook, M.; and Paster, A. (2017). Thirty years of preserving, discovering, and accessing U.S. agricultural information: Past progress and current challenges. Library Trends, 65(3), 293-315.

Dauterive, Sarah; John Bourgeois; and Sarah Simms. “How little is too little? An examination of information literacy instruction duration for freshmen.” Journal of Information Literacy, 11.1 (2017): 204-219.

Fontenot, Mitch; Emily Frank; and Andrea Hebert. “Going Where the Users Are: Three Variations on a Theme,” Louisiana Libraries, Fall 2017.

Hawk, Amanda K. “Highflying Crowdfunding: Creating a Successful Partnership with a Campus Donor,” Archival Outlook, July/August 2017: 12-13, 19.

Hebert, Andrea; and Marty Miller. (2017). Using FSA-OWI photographs to teach information and visual literacy. Louisiana Libraries, 79(3), 19–25.

Johnson, Hayley. “#NoDAPL: Social Media, Empowerment, and Civic Participation at Standing Rock,” Library Trends, Fall 2017.