Dean's Update: A Time to Gather...and Test Old Ways in New Environments
November 18, 2021
Thanksgiving weekend highlights our November calendars and invites us to pause and reflect on thankfulness—to recognize and express our gratitude for friends, family and colleagues. Doing so lifts spirits, reduces stress and improves our overall health and wellness.
These elements that define our national holiday are similar to the objectives of a library. A library is a hub for gathering people across our communities, as one faculty member recently reminded us in a conversation to articulate what is essential in valuing the library. It is a destination for social learning and engagement of our individual and shared intellect. We imagine events and elements of the unique library environment to offer “Thanksgivingness” year-round, to reflect on what the academic environment offers and to express gratitude for individual and institutional contributions each community member makes for the betterment of the university and society beyond.
This issue of In Circulation highlights some of the ways the Drexel Libraries facilitates this purpose—and doing so in still evolving new environments defined by our mid-pandemic world.
We mark the 10th anniversary of ScholarSip, one signature event series the Libraries hosts three times a year to toast the milestones of the academic terms. ScholarSip offers an opportunity to pause and socially learn about interdisciplinary research undertaken by members of the Drexel research community, which contributes to building the University’s intellectual community. This December, we are testing if we can return to the in-person venue of doing so—after pivoting to an online only format due to COVID-19—while also accommodating remote participants in our “hybrid” way of coming together. We are eager to see how this will work.
Earlier this fall, Libraries staff also celebrated Open Access Week with a series of webinars to bring people together to learn and reflect on the opportunities open access to information resources offers to disseminate knowledge across geographic boundaries, also central to a university community. We continue to explore—through panel discussions and librarian guidance—how more accessible ways of sharing research in an OA world works.
The COVID-19 disruptions bring to the forefront awareness that our overall wellness is a critical condition for learning, whether in an academic setting or beyond in daily life. We also share in this issue a description of the Libraries’ continued exploration how to facilitate our community’s self-directed efforts to care for ourselves through new tools and guidance for facilitating wellness. We are eager to see how delivery of tools—both online and in our physical locations—can strengthen our intellectual wellness for nurturing the multitude of active learning behaviors a university environment offers.
Though we join the annual celebration of “the harvest and bounty” that autumn brings as we enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, with whatever groups we can comfortably gather this year, the Libraries’ efforts to serve as a hub for community building around connecting to ideas and scholarship continues throughout the year. Join us in reading this In Circulation issue to pause, reflect and give thanks for the unique opportunities higher education institutions and the communities they assemble provide for individual and shared growth, on and off campus in our growing “hybrid” world.
With our best wishes for a safe, healthy, relaxing and grateful Thanksgiving!
Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries