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Dean's Update: The Summer Slowdown

August 8, 2019

Summer reports sometimes are only teasers of what is to come. It is a season when librarians learn about new trends and ideas. Others begin to assess ambitions set a year ago for annual reports. Many unwind after ending a hectic academic year. 

July this year started with that summer sense of slowing down, enjoying a little “free” time, seeing fewer people around, and dealing with long stretches of hot, humid weather and short wet downpours. It is a time when national associations hold annual conferences that librarians attend to become energized with new ideas and refreshed with some time away from daily tasks. 

July is also the start of the fiscal year when managers and administrators reflect on annual objectives set one year ago and set goals and new budget allocations for the year to come. It is often the busiest time of year for them. 

This year we are planning the new year against a particularly uncertain backdrop. The University is addressing challenges of unexpected enrollments, as well as the closing of a hospital closely linked with its medical education and research programs. These will affect the budget and recruitment pace of all departments around campus, including the Libraries.

This year July closed with awareness of nine staff vacancies by end of summer. Staff departures are typically bittersweet—time to say farewell to work colleagues but also time to celebrate new opportunities for those moving on to different jobs. Former staff have moved to other research institutions with larger departments in their areas of expertise, to try a business venture, to start a new program in a distant library set closer to the western wilderness, and to land an appointment utilizing past training in other disciplines. 

Thinking about what to feature in this month’s In Circulation, we were hard-pressed to write about what we thought might interest our readers. It is a bit too early to share the summaries of the academic year’s highlights, and it is a bit of an imposition to ask staff to write about their personal development.  

So, this month, we gathered passing comments and report snippets to share insights about space, with focus on two themes. One is through the filter of wellness, a topic addressed from both the workplace and the learner’s environment we strive to improve as one of the Libraries strategic directions—creating environments to inspire self-directed quest for learning.

The other is an update of renovation, a completed project at Queen Lane Library and good news that budget approval was given to order new furnishing to refresh a segment of the W. W. Hagerty Library following collaborative planning with students. 

A lot of writing is happening to promote changes we expect to make for the coming year that we have not yet finalized. By next month, the budgets should be set, and we will be able to feature what we plan to undertake next, including completion of another long-planned renovation will be ready to document in the September issue of In Circulation.

Stay cool in August!

Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries