Building a Thriving Community
I have belonged to many different communities throughout my life. Sometimes communities are geographical in nature, and with that lens in mind, I have lived in over twenty different neighborhoods. But just as often, communities are seen through a different lens, whether ethnic, religious, gender identity, or other categories. Sometimes communities are fluid, and people can pass in and out easily, but other times they have rigid boundaries with circumscribed membership requirements.
The Oviatt Library is in many ways its own community. This community includes employees (such as our 90 staff and faculty and our 140 student assistants); campus faculty and staff; local users and supporters; and of course, the 38,000 CSUN students who make excellent use of our resources and services.
Message from the Dean: Women Making a Difference
One of the most rewarding aspects of library work is to provide diverse educational and cultural programming and resources that recognize individual accomplishments and document transformative social movements. In this issue of the Oviatt Library eNews, the editorial staff wanted to highlight women’s achievements. The CSU boasts a strong contingent of women leaders (52.2 percent of CSU campus presidents are women – nearly double the national average for U.S. colleges and universities). At CSUN, the past 26 years have been led by a woman president.
Message from the Dean: Creativity - The Secret Sauce of Student Success
Creativity is a crucial part of our lives and our work. It benefits all of us individually and as a society. Very few would argue that creativity has no place on the university campus or almost anywhere else in the world. Indeed, scholarly literature has proven that being exposed to creative outlets and innovation opportunities generates student success. But demonstrating creativity in the real world is sometimes hard work.
Message from the Dean: A Most Special Place
One of my favorite parts of the Oviatt Library is Special Collections & Archives (SC/A). I’m not an archivist myself, but one of my first mentors taught me that Special Collections & Archives is the jewel in the crown of every library. The SC/A rare books are amazing to look at and study, and the archival collections are truly unique. Every time I visit this space I’m reminded of the importance of curating and caring for these materials, as well as the positive academic impact on students and researchers who are afforded access to these collections.
Message from the Dean: Prospering from Lessons Past
It was philosopher-writer George Santayana who first said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana, who was educated in the United States from the age of eight, was a Spanish immigrant but considered himself an American and went on to become a Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. One of his star students, W. E. B. Du Bois, was able to attend college in large part due to donations that were collected by the congregants of his church. Du Bois himself became a prominent American civil rights leader and helped co-found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). These linked pieces of history, like the articles in this issue of the eNews, remind us that it is in coming together as a community to educate our students that we keep our democracy vibrant.
Message from the Dean: The Sacrifice of Giving
Several years ago I had the privilege of hosting a refugee family. What started off as an offer of temporary housing turned into a three-year sojourn and eventually a lifetime friendship. From an outsider’s perspective, this may have seemed like a sacrifice on my part, and on some level it was. There were relatively minor sacrifices of time, finances, and privacy.
In retrospect, however, I received so much more than I gave. My new friends, displaced from their country of birth, could not reciprocate with money, but they more than “evened the score” with their gifts of love, thankfulness, cultural interchange, and loyalty.
Message from the Dean: Our 100 Year Plan
The venerable Chinese philosopher Confucius said that if you think in terms of a year, plant a seed, and if you think in terms of 10 years, plant a tree, but if you think in terms of 100 years, teach the people. In a world with potentially cataclysmic challenges like climate change, our future well-being is directly tied to our passionate resolve to teach.
Now more than ever, educating the students at CSUN remains one of the primary facets of the Oviatt Library mission, and this edition of the eNews will highlight the many ways that we accomplish this goal through hard work, innovation, and dedicated service.
A Message from the Dean: Unearthing our Flourishing Network
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that "all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
As Dr. King observed, there is a certain coherence to the world that seems to often stay hidden below the surface and then occasionally pops up like a spring daisy. Similarly, the stories in our Spring 2016 issue of the Oviatt Library eNews have a number of connective elements. These elements are surprising, inspiring, and thought-provoking.
Message from the Dean: The Gift of Giving Back
When I was a boy, I was inspired by the athletic skill and bold rhetoric of boxing champion Muhammed Ali. Later I learned of his commitment to service, what we often refer to as “giving back.” Ali said that “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” This is a helpful metaphor that perfectly captures the spirit of service: it’s an obligation that we have toward our fellow travelers on this planet that allows us to “give back” to others in a variety of ways. Some of us give back with our time; some with our treasure; and some through service-oriented careers.
Message from the Dean: The Impact of Interconnectivity
Woodrow Wilson was a political science professor, president of Princeton University, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and president of the United States. In one of his presidential campaigns he used the slogan “The pen is mightier than the sword,” which should endear him to all those who love libraries. But it is another quote from Woodrow Wilson that I want to focus on in this dean’s message.