Dean’s Update: #LibrariesMatter
September 3, 2019
Frequently through this Dean’s Update column, I reflect on the challenge of communicating the importance of a library to its university community. This issue of In Circulation features articles about what we do to address this challenge of influencing perceptions of the Drexel University Libraries as contributing to academic life.
This month highlights our contributions to scholarly communications. You may read about the speedy role of interlibrary loan (ILL) and other resource sharing services as a new spin on traditional “collection building.” Or check out the article about new ORCID iD policies and the role our librarians play in helping Drexel researchers obtain and use ORCID iDs to increase the discoverability of their work.
We periodically try to share our message by inviting others to communicate their value, as, for example, this past year’s Libraries Faculty Fellows’ work to champion faculty use of open textbooks or other free-to-students readings in their courses. After reading the announcement about the Libraries' 2019/2020 ScholarSip series, readers may wish to mark their calendars to hear Drexel faculty and administrators provide food-for-thought about the challenges of sharing research results from partnerships with commercial interests.
We work hard to get word out about what the Libraries does. Individuals appreciate the staff and all they do. Seldom does anyone complain about the Libraries. Yet, as one academic administrator affirmed, with all good intentions, “The Libraries is important, but it is always a second priority.” The communication challenge is not just to change perception of the Libraries on campus, but to raise priorities for its contributions to the University’s mission.
This summer, we planned another approach to tackling this challenge by expanding our staff communication skills. On August 28, 2019, we launched a workshop series for an invited group of 20 Libraries staff who influence faculty and administrators in the context of their work and nurtured relationships with them. The first session in this four-part workshop series—generously designed and led by colleagues from the University Writing Program—taught the Libraries’ information experts about the relationship between atmosphere, persona and reader to help them more effectively share their knowledge with the campus community. Staff were engaged and enthusiastic to uncover creative and new expressions about what we do at the Drexel Libraries. Over the next several weeks, staff will learn about writing theory and insights into the writing process, as well as take time to practice writing blog posts with shared feedback from others.
Look for a change in future issues of In Circulation as we experiment with topical blogs and columns, inviting multiple perspectives about ways #LibrariesMatter. Join the conversations.
Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries