A Vision for the Libraries

One of the things that leaders get asked time and time again is “What’s your vision?” I’ve been here just two months, and I’ve spoken about my vision a lot in discussions with my fellow deans. Below is a flavor of what I am thinking, and in the next few months, I’ll talk more about research services and collaboration with faculty and our strategic planning process.

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I believe that the University of Houston Libraries and its librarians and staff transform lives and enrich the academic experience of the students and faculty at our University through our services, collections, and spaces.

I believe that every student has the potential to be successful, and that interaction with librarians will aid in that student success. In my vision, our librarians are embedded in the curriculum in every college. We are teaching information literacy and critical thinking skills to all our students.

In a study that discusses the impact of library usage on retention of first-time, first-year students, Soria, Fransen, and Nackerud, our colleagues at the University of Minnesota, suggest that students who use the library have a higher GPA for their first semester and higher retention from fall to spring than non-library users (portal: Libraries and the Academy, vol. 13:2 (2013) pp. 147-164). Here at the University of Houston, Christina Gola, head of Liaison Services for instruction and outreach, is the UH principal investigator on a large consortial study with almost two dozen other academic libraries that is examining the Libraries’ impact on student learning.

I believe, through our library collections, services, and spaces, we provide opportunities to discover, preserve, create, and share knowledge. We provide access to scholarship and preserve the scholarly record. Scholarly communications is our mission and we believe passionately in freedom of speech and the freedom to read.

My vision for the Libraries is that we will have a robust repository in which to preserve the scholarship of UH faculty and students.

I have a vision that the physical space of our libraries will facilitate learning, full of technology that will enhance student learning and prepare them well for the 21st century. Spaces for quiet contemplation, collaboration, and for creating presentations will be available on every floor with new furniture and modern technology.

Our library is the heart of the university, and I believe every great university deserves and needs a great library. I believe we can work together to go even further.

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