Dean Cox talks about Redefining the Academic Library: Engaging the Campus
Today marks the beginning of the “Redefining the Academic Library” speakers series. Some have asked me why we’re bringing these speakers in. I thought I’d share a little more of the context.
Over the last six months the library has been engaged in a new strategic planning process. As part of this process we have been conducting an external scan: reading reports, conducting faculty and student surveys over the last two quarters, examining educational trends, revising our SCOT analysis, and assessing new directions. If you want to see what we’ve looked at thus far, the strategic planning committee’s charge, our timeline, etc., please check out http://libguides.wwu.edu/strategic.
The idea for the speaker series stemmed from the Provost’s reading of a report produced by the University Leadership Council of the Education Advisory Board entitled “Redefining the Academic Library” (http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2012/01/09/crl-309.full.pdf). She suggested I review it and share it with my staff. I referred it to the library’s strategic planning committee and we have been engaged in discussions related to it here in the library. We found it to be a great overview of the challenges and opportunities libraries currently face.
I suggested to the Provost that one way to engage the campus community in potential future directions for the library would be to bring to campus some of the librarians who were interviewed as part of the report.The idea of a speaker’s series of the same name as the Leadership Council report was born! We picked four speakers covering areas we felt would of interest the campus community – collections, library space, collaboration and library staff roles – and I asked my colleagues if they would be willing to come to campus and share their knowledge and what they are doing at their institutions. The Provost graciously agreed to fund the cost of bringing them to campus. In truth, most are coming free of charge as a favor to me.
The intent of these presentations is to share the challenges facing academic libraries today, library trends, and ways that other libraries are addressing these. We want to engage faculty in particular but also students in a dialogue regarding these, and that’s why all the presentations will be video-recorded and we will have online forums on Viking Village where people can share their reactions, opinions, etc. Members of the Libraries strategic planning committee and I are also willing to discuss the content of these presentations with individuals or departments as we work to determine our future directions and figure out exactly which are the right fit for Western.
Below is a list of the experts we have engaged to come to the campus, starting today with Doug Way who will be presenting at 4pm in the Library Presentation Room (Wilson 164).
- On May 2, Doug Way from Grand Valley State College in Allendale, Mich., will discuss how library collections are rapidly changing in support of scholarship as well as the evolving roles of academic librarians. The Grand Valley State College Library is the 2012 winner of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.
- On May 9, John Popko from Seattle University will speak about the 10-year planning and construction project which has resulted in the Lemieux and McGoldrick Learning Commons, a world-class transformative space supporting academic endeavors at Seattle University. Popko will also talk about the value that a learning commons environment brings to a university.
- On May 16, John Helmer, Executive Director for Orbis Cascade Alliance, will talk about the benefits consortia participation brings to members through efficiencies and purchasing power. Helmer has been involved with library consortia for 20 years and is the 2012 winner of the Hugh C. Atkinson Award which recognizes him as a risk-taker and an effective leader and champion of new ideas and initiatives.
- On May 23, Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson, Dean of the University of Washington Libraries, will speak about new roles opening up for academic librarians and how these will benefit teaching and learning through academia. Wilson was the 2007 Academic/Research Librarian of the year and under her leadership, the University of Washington Libraries was the 2004 ACRL Academic Library of the Year.
I hope that you and your colleagues can attend these presentations and participate in the dialogue, helping us determine new directions to best respond to the needs of you and your students.