Dean's Update: More than a Building to Enable Informed Participation in Learning

Dean's Update: More than a Building to Enable Informed Participation in Learning
Jenny James Lee
November 5, 2014

[The Dean's Update is a reoccurring column introducing the Libraries' monthly newsletter In Circulation.]

Recent innovative development of a space illustrates the Libraries work to enable learning and creation of new knowledge through informed engagement with data, information, and historic artifacts. You likely associate such spaces with a library—that place where organized collections of books, journals, and other sources of information are housed and made accessible for study and research. What might not so easily fit with your notion of a library is what happens within and beyond the physical building.

Today’s librarians, partnering with others, embrace opportunities to influence the discovery and engagement with information, encouraging individuals to become self-directed learners, empowered educators, scholarly researchers and/or informed citizens. Digital data and electronic information, coupled with information and communication technologies, software applications, and website interfaces are the brick and mortar for building today’s library. In November’s issue of In Circulation you can read about The Legacy Center’s new Doctor or Doctress website. This site is a new library, located in cyberspace, where data, information and historic artifacts are organized and not only made accessible to students and teachers, but presented in a virtual environment that guides learners to gain insights and make connections on their own to today’s questions with stories and records from the past.

The project to design and present this innovative website has been a learning experience for staff with different expertise and across organizational units and Drexel campuses. It demonstrates the power of partnership and sharing creativity from a vision to building an exciting new place.

This time of year –the morning after elections, and the week before deadlines for presenting budget requests—emphasizes the power of language, negotiation, and partnerships to shape value of an enterprise. The Libraries as an organization is more than a building that houses collections of information. The “building” expands to cyberspace, and the opportunities to achieve effective “accessibility” include partnering with educators to empower learners to navigate the digital information universe, and to design architecture to ensure stable preservation, discovery and retrieval of data and digital collections.

Our transition to the online world is not a clean cut from managing physical spaces and artifacts – as both offer tremendous value. Other articles in this issue will offer you insights into the Libraries staff workflows and activities to bridge both physical and virtual facilities and resources for supporting learning and research through provision of information sources and guidance.

Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries