Deans Update – The Evolving Libraries Workforce

Deans Update – The Evolving Libraries Workforce
Jenny James Lee
June 5, 2013

The Libraries is actively changing the face of its staff with recruitment efforts underway for ten positions over the past month. No new positions have been added to the staff. Instead the positions are carefully redefined jobs to address vacancies and meet numerous factors of change. As we report each month, change is a constant at the Libraries and a relatively small cohort of 64 dedicated professionals, assistants and student employees work collaboratively to shape the direction of this change.

Professionals, equipped to adapt to changes in scholarly communications, pedagogy, technologies, and the diverse cultures of Drexel learners are also critical to lead initiatives framed by the Libraries strategic plans. The library liaison role is evolving at Drexel to strengthen partnerships and communications with all schools and colleges — we are introducing a focused emphasis to sharpen these connections of library specialists to campus research and to do so this year with the health sciences domains where so much of Drexel’s research output originates. Technical expertise in instructional design, creating exercises for students to practice course principles, and incorporating information literacy in lesson plans are also increasingly in demand. A manager position under recruitment will guide librarians in their demanding work with faculty and other staff to envision how to reach and coach students to master their academic self-directed learning competencies. And as a dynamic organization with increased dependencies on managing and analyzing data [e.g. fiscal, operational, and performance], the Libraries will gain greater technical expertise through a newly defined financial analyst position.

Entry positions offer people with less specialized skills and a modest work history to develop their career amidst a culture that passionately defends freedom of inquiry, ensures access to information, provides environments to practice learning and streamlined workflows to undertake administrative tasks. New hires for example assist in processing faculty requests for reserve materials for classes, locating bibliographic titles to submit interlibrary loan requests for researchers, shelving and locating physical materials, or paying invoices for expensive databases rich with published information for campus use. It is not unusual for library assistants to work for decades in their positions, while others may leave us to pursue new opportunities such as a recently bestowed post graduate fellowship at the National Institute of Health Library.

Finally, but certainly not least important, we seek new innovative thinking and leadership to work with vendors, to build information technologies and system infrastructure, especially to improve and simplify discovery of information of multiple formats and with different degrees of descriptions. We hope soon that a Manager of Discovery Systems as well as a new Web Developer will be on board to work in this area of development and operations.

As a visitor to the Libraries, whether online or on site, you may never see new hires who will fill these positions. But know that their deep knowledge, extensive experience, and commitment to values of self-directed learning, will soon be well applied to improving the Libraries as a key learning enterprise for Drexel.

Danuta A. Nitecki, Ph.D.
Dean of Libraries