Today is my last day on the UW Tacoma campus as your Library Director, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my past four years as a member of this community and share these thoughts with readers of this blog.
Moving across the country to serve as your Library Director was a pretty dramatic move for me and my family, and it was very much a leap of faith. I had a sense that things were going to work out, but I had no way of imagining what things would be like on the other side. This community has exceeded my wildest dreams, and I thank you for that.
When I arrived, our Chancellor was just starting the strategic planning process for campus. I was incredibly thankful to receive an appointment to the steering committee. That committee helped me learn about our community, and gave me the opportunity to share contemporary academic library practices with others. I am proud of the work that went into the plan and the vision it created for campus. I was very happy to serve as a co-chair for the Research and Scholarship goal area and to work to build more infrastructure to support our faculty in their work.
The library has changed a lot as well. Once we had an understanding of where campus was going, the team worked together to create a strategic plan and equity statement. As part of that focus you might have noticed a number of evolutions:
- Repurposing positions resulting in a Collections and Budget Librarian, Instructional Design Librarian, First Year Experience Librarian, and Data and Digital Scholarship Librarian
- Offering new programs such as Sources & Citations, RealLit, campus tabling in the foyer, Open Scholar Cafe, Faculty Reading Circles, and Maker events, for example
- Growing the library’s Oral History program
- Circulating textbooks to support college affordability
- 3D printing to support curricular and informal learning needs
- Expanding our circulating technology to support emerging curricular needs
- Creating a gender neutral bathroom from a staff restroom with support of campus administration
- Posting a Land Acknowledgement and committing to learning more about ways we can support and collaborate with the Puyallup tribe and other local communities
- Extending hours thanks to campus support enabling hiring a staff member to manage late night hours
- Contributing deeply to the Pre-Design phase of the Snoqualmie/TLB building project
- Developing new communication practices for the community, such as this blog, and investing new energy into our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts
- Refining our own workflows, in our liaison model and in introducing tools and practices to enable efficient and equitable communication
- And all of this while maintaining the services you expect: a relevant and accessible collection, borrowing from other libraries, IT support, student study room reservations, teaching classes, answering reference questions, maintaining a safe and inclusive space, etc!
I’m incredibly proud of everything that this team has done. It’s been a transformative four years and we’ve grown as a community. The library team’s commitment to our students, faculty, staff, and community, along with their learning orientation and willingness to try things, is their strength, and leads to them being positioned to do yet more good for this community. I eagerly await seeing what comes next for this library and how it benefits UW Tacoma’s students, faculty, staff, and community.
Personally, I have felt so supported by my colleagues both within the library and outside of it, in the work we’ve done in the library as well as in my work for the profession. And I am very aware that not everybody has that level of support. Thank you for accepting me so readily, and for working with your library colleagues to improve the student learning experience, better support the faculty research experience, and offer meaningful programming for the community here. It’s been an honor and a privilege and I thank you. Please don’t be a stranger if you’re ever on the UW Seattle campus!