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Dean's Update: In Preparation

August 3, 2018

August is that transition month that carries expectations of lazy days of summer before the busy start of a new academic year in September. This first week offers me a moment to take stock of what we have been doing “in preparation” and to realize July has been anything but a bunch of lazy days at the Drexel Libraries. 

This issue of In Circulation includes a few highlights of our recent efforts to be prepared for what is to come in fall. We have been preparing ourselves—working with young high school women, faculty fellows, and other champions on campus—to help further the Libraries’ various strategic initiatives.

A few librarians and one enthusiastic teaching professor have gauged receptivity and interest in the open textbook initiative among Drexel faculty. In July, the Libraries formally enrolled in the Open Textbook Network (OTN) on behalf of Drexel. We also introduced the University’s Executive Council to this organization and the strategy to help students contain affordability of their education while lowering barriers for them to access readings assigned for their coursework.   Read about the OTN orientation conference Beth Ten Have, Director of Academic Partnerships, attended to prepare us for launching open education programs at Drexel.

The Libraries once again is proud to host two high school students to experience a work setting and see what college life is—at least in the library. Read an interview with these summer interns that shares how they are preparing themselves for life after high school through Philadelphia’s Work Ready Program.

Our four inaugural Libraries Faculty Fellows initiated a debriefing of the pilot program with me, during which they raised a few unexpected outcomes of their work this spring. Read about what they learned, the bonding they valued and their shared desire to continue as advocates for the Libraries and its efforts to prepare faculty and students for their academic pursuits.

Finally, among our featured stories, a few informal space discussions held in July with faculty, students and administrators has been a stimulating and informative way to explore and reimagine the Libraries’ role as expressed through space design. Read a short reflection on the exercise. 

We alerted readers in earlier issues of In Circulation about modernizing the Libraries’ integrated technology systems, but now a big milestone is quietly arriving. A team of ten staff, led by Ann Yurcaba, Director of Administrative Services, completed seven months of hard work to prepare and implement a new library platform, replacing the Millennium library management system, which has been in use since the late 1990s. In the next few days, the new Alma and Summons applications from ExLibris will be in use, and we will be prepared to extend our infrastructure to embrace challenges of discovery and management of research data output as Early Adopters of the Esploro research platform.  

There is no way any one can characterize July as lazy days of summer here—even though we all enjoy half-day Fridays for the summer. The added personal time certainly helps with the transition to fall.

Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Librares


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