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Dean's Update: Positioning the Libraries for 2019

January 9, 2019

Happy New Year, with hopes that you had a relaxing break and maybe even indulged in some good escape reading beyond those scholarly articles and research reports you turn to during the academic year!

The Drexel Libraries is starting 2019 positioned to expand our human capacity. In this issue of In Circulation, you will read about several preparations we put in place to better guide and evolve our efforts to achieve our current strategic directions in the year ahead.  

In November 2018, we put out a call for the next round of Library Faculty Fellows. Now, we are pleased to announce five outstanding faculty will join the Libraries staff as 2019 Faculty Fellows for the winter and spring terms. They each will share their expertise and enthusiasm to explore one of two key programs:  to promote greater use of open educational resources and the Libraries’ licensed scholarly publications for course-required readings to lower student out-of-pocket expenditures or to field test an evolving system to more conveniently manage research output generated at Drexel.

Libraries managers and administrators also reviewed staff suggestions to improve our services made during last year’s Kitchen Table Talks. We composed a progress report with details on projects already underway, as well as plans to address or “park” ideas for the time being. The report was shared with staff, building another year of enthusiasm for this form of intimate, small group discussions to engage all levels of staff with the Libraries’ administration.

A reorganization of staff roles within the Libraries’ already matrixed management is in place to strengthen our ability to respond to the inevitable unknown changes ahead. Now, nearly one-third of all staff will serve on the Managerial Leadership Group, which includes program managers for both long-standing operational and service units, as well as emerging initiatives that engage staff experts. The objectives of this reorganization are to align the Libraries’ organizational structure with our strategic foci to leverage existing and added expertise to advance the University priorities, to inspire staff engagement to transform the Libraries’ relevance, and to provide opportunities for staff growth. Each program—new and old, small and large—meet most (if not all) of these objectives.  

Throughout coming months, expect to read in this newsletter about the progress staff are making to help the Drexel community understand the power and the complexities of accessing, discovering, evaluating and utilizing knowledge. The Libraries will focus this year on simplifying each of these engagements with diverse sources of knowledge, whether core to curricular readings, results of research, or simply available for the curious.  

Expectations to devote energies to value knowledge continue to be responsibilities within higher education. In 2019, the Libraries is ready to make its contributions to the truth seekers, the learners, and the creators of evidence at Drexel. We are especially encouraged to have new partners to join in our efforts this year.   

Wishing all our readers rewarding excursions across the information landscapes—whether for study, for inquiry or for sheer pleasure this new year!

Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries