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Finding The Calm After The Perfect Storm

By Betsy Learned, Dean of University Libraries

Credit: Megan Lessard/University Library/Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

Credit: Megan Lessard/University Library/Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

 

Former Dean of Libraries, Peter Deekle, referred to the 2015-16 academic year, the year he turned over the leadership of the library to me, as a “perfect storm.”  At Peter’s retirement, the library was in the midst of the University’s 10-year NEASC accreditation; had just begun the first book deselection project; lost three member libraries in the HELIN Consortium, leaving the remaining HELIN members with a giant construction loan and almost one third less income; and the task of finding a new library system to reduce our costs.   The library staff came together to right the ship over the past year and deserve my utmost appreciation for their hard work and perseverance.

Achievements of this academic year include John Fobert’s application of his sabbatical research to identify a new library system, World Management Services (WMS) and his leadership on both the HELIN team that selected the system, and the library’s implementation team.  Christine Fagan has fearlessly led the deselection project with help from technical services staff Liz Hanes, Jackie Katz and Phil Williams (and other staff as needed) while at the same time bringing up the new acquisitions system as part of WMS.  The Web and Digital Services team—Barbara Kenney, Heidi Benedict, Chris Truszkowski, and Megan Lessard are nearing completion of the library’s first digital project, Ferrycliffe: From Farm to University, featuring archival materials from the Fulton/Howe collection about the land on which we work, formerly Ferrycliffe Farm.

All of our staff have contributed to these projects and have participated in countless meetings, demos, and difficult discussions, in an effort to provide the highest level of service to our university community.  They have bolstered me in my new position as Dean in more ways than I can describe.  Many thanks to Cindy Jones and Adam Braver for keeping me sane, and to all in the library for keeping us afloat, approaching ever calmer waters.