As you know, I spent the last week of August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress (WLIC). When I returned, I met with my senior leadership for a day long retreat at Hueston Woods near Oxford, Ohio. I gave updates on my planning thoughts for UC Libraries’ newest strategic endeavors, we reflected on the new opportunities and challenges we may face in the upcoming year and talked about further alignment with UC’s Next Lives Here directions. We also spent time bringing the two new members of my senior leadership team, Associate Dean for Library Services Brad Warren and Associate Director of Business Affairs Jeremy Berberich, up to speed. We ended the day with dinner with a special guest, Jerome Conley, the Dean of the Miami University Libraries.
I am currently visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress along with some of my colleagues from UC Libraries, but I’m excited to return to UC and greet our new and returning students and faculty.
Before we dive into the fall semester, here’s a brief overview of the last few months at UC Libraries.
Several key library positions were filled over the summer, including: associate director of business affairs Jeremy Berberich; business and data analytics librarian Maggie Patel; associate dean of library services Brad Warren; and content analyst Dorcas Washington. The Digital Scholarship Center also continued to grow, welcoming digital scholarship library fellow Erin McCabe and data visualization developer Ezra Edgerton. They joined software developer Zhaowei Ren, with the support of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
UC Libraries joined HathiTrust, a national and international partnership of research institutions and libraries.
The Winkler Center Advisory Board hosted the annual Cecil Striker Society Lecture, “Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Impacting the Health of Children in Our Community and the World: The Past, Present and Future,” with co-lecturers Michael K. Farrell, MD and Bea Katz, PhD.
One of UC Libraries’ greatest strengths is its partnerships and collaborations. On or off campus, at home or abroad, the Libraries are always looking for opportunities to forge new relationships, while engaging in the university’s global agenda. As library dean I am fortunate enough to be involved with many of these relationships from their infancy.
This spring I traveled to China with UC’s Provost Kristi Nelson and Vice Provost for International Affairs Raj Mehta to visit Beijing Jiaotong University and Shandong University. In my role as Special Advisor to the Provost on China Initiatives, I have traveled to China on many occasions with various members of UC’s senior leadership, assisting in UC’s China engagement. More often than not, these trips include tours of university libraries (see the picture on the bottom left corner of Provost Nelson and me at the new Shandong University Qingdao campus library).
It’s April at the University of Cincinnati, the end of another eventful academic year. This April was especially busy for UC Libraries, beginning with our 16th annual International Edible Books Festival event on April 3rd. Later in the month, the library hosted my Dean’s Advisory Council, and the board of downtown Cincinnati’s Lloyd Library. We honored Marian A. Spencer, this year’s recipient of the Taft Medal of Notable Achievement at UC’s Distinguished Alumni Celebration, and held our first German-Americana lecture. We celebrated the kickoff of UC’s bicentennial, participated in UC’s Research + Innovation Week and brought music to the Gorno Library.
This is just a short list, in no way comprehensive. It says nothing of UC Libraries’ hardworking faculty, staff and student workers, spread out over 10 campus locations.
This month, I traveled to Barcelona to participate in IFLA’s (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) Global Vision Kickoff. This two-day meeting, followed by a two-day workshop, helped to confirm the united goals of IFLA’s global community, and our joint commitment to the value and growth of librarianship and libraries.
This weekend, the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Lunar New Year Gala. I was happy to attend, along with many of my UC colleagues.
Some of you may remember that the Walter C. Langsam Library hosted its own Lunar New Year celebration in 2015. I always welcome the opportunity to celebrity this important Chinese holiday. Happy Year of the Dog!
The spring meeting of my Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) focused on the fourth pillar of UC Libraries’ Strategic Plan: Data to Information to Knowledge. The heart of this pillar is library collections and new forms of scholarship. In order to provide a holistic view of the multi-faceted work we do at UC Libraries curating, preserving, and digitizing our collections, I invited three UCL librarians to come discuss their work with the council: Eira Tansey, digital archivist and records manager; Gino Pasi, archivist and curator for the Winkler Center of the Health Professions; and Sally Moffitt, reference librarian and bibliographer. Our fourth presenter was the new director of the University of Cincinnati Press, Liz Scarpelli.
Since UC Libraries announced the establishment of UC’s first Digital Scholarship Center (DSC) last September, the center’s co-directors Arlene Johnson and James Lee have been busy reaching out to the university community and laying groundwork. We sat down with both them and Dean Xuemao Wang to discuss their respective backgrounds in digital humanities/digital scholarship (DH/DS) and the early details of their plans for the DSC at the University of Cincinnati and UC Libraries.
I first met Dr. Henry Heimlich, or “Hank”, shortly after I arrived at the University of Cincinnati. To my surprise, he had expressed a strong interest in meeting me, so I eagerly invited him to join me for dinner at my home, along with Associate Dean Emeritus Steve Marine, the libraries’ Director of Development Christa Bernardo and our respective spouses. It was then that I learned of his time as a surgeon with the US Naval Group in World War II. Hank had been stationed in China, and his first stop was my hometown of Chongqing.
This fall, UC Libraries continued the pursuit of our mission to become the “globally engaged intellectual commons of the university.”
We began the semester with the announcement of Langsam Library’s transformation to a 24×7 space, and the opening of its new Starbucks cafe. We celebrated a number of new hires, including the director of the University of Cincinnati Press, Liz Scarpelli and the head of the CCM Library, Jenny Doctor. We featured new displays, such as Big Bone Lick: A Place of Discovery at the Geography-Mathematics-Physics Library, physical and online exhibits celebrating Native American Heritage found at Langsam Library and on our library website, and a Halloween exhibit of creepy medical artifacts at the Winkler Center. We also celebrated at the Winkler Center the 100th birthday of Dr. Henry R. Winkler.
All of these visible and publicized changes and events don’t account for the hard work done behind the scenes by UC Libraries’ excellent faculty and staff.
This spring will be a time of re-calibration. We will continue to serve the students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the University of Cincinnati community while examining the best way forward. On this blog, I plan to dig deeper into the initiatives, departments and personnel that make up UC Libraries.