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Message from the Dean: Priorities and a Changing Library

One of my favorite television actresses, Marilu Henner, once said that “Like it or not, the world evolves, priorities change and so do you.”  It’s a simple concept, but the truth is that many of us are fixed in cement once we write down a prioritized list of goals. 

It’s not easy to be flexible with our goals.  We may feel that others will criticize us for weakness or lack of focus.  At the same time, we must take advantage of windows of opportunity and move our current priorities forward with intentionality and speed when an opening appears. 

Over the past three years, that window of opportunity has opened up, and the Oviatt Library is advancing, full steam ahead.  The balance lies in not being held back by past goals (which may have changed) while at the same time feeling the freedom to move quickly toward accomplishing current ones.  Sometimes, even in the often slow-moving world of higher education, time is truly “of the essence.”

Dean Mark Stover

I have been talking a lot lately to Library staff and faculty, and I’ve taken advantage of these opportunities to remind them about many of the Oviatt’s top priorities.  The articles in this edition of the eNews are aptly reflective of some of those priorities.  I know that you will enjoy and be stimulated by these articles that describe how the Oviatt is transforming itself based on our strategic priorities. 

One of our current priorities is a commitment to keep the Library relevant for students. This is done in part by providing a modern environment that better serves the students’ needs.  The lead story in this issue is about our hugely successful partnership with the University Corporation, and the Freudian Sip Coffeehouse is a shining example of just that.  Ten years ago, food and drink were largely forbidden in the Oviatt Library.  Today, changing attitudes in society (and in the world of libraries), along with our desire to make the Library a relevant place for our students, led us to build and maintain the most popular coffeehouse at CSUN in the lobby of the Oviatt Library.

Another top priority is the repurposing of our physical space.  A key element in this effort is the reshaping of our physical collection through de-selection.  Our Oviatt Spotlight article discusses the Weeding Project and explains how the ongoing, careful curation of Library holdings allows us to make the best use of our building’s finite total of square footage.  Weeding was frowned upon by some librarians in past generations.  Today, it’s a necessary priority.  

We have also made it a strategic goal to raise the profile of our Special Collections and Archives.  The What’s Up story about our current Library exhibit, California’s Call: the Lure and Lore of the Golden State, showcases the undeniable relevance of the many unique materials housed in our vital and ever-expanding archives.  This is a priority that has certainly been constant throughout the many years of the Oviatt Library’s existence.

Building on our already strong foundation of information literacy remains one of our core priorities.   In this vein, librarian Luiz Mendes is profiled in our We Would Like You to Meet column. After getting to know a little bit about this highly respected, award-winning faculty member, I am confident that you will agree that the Oviatt’s foundation of information literacy is well fortified.

Finally, we have also prioritized the improvement of outreach and development.  We know that our Friends and donors play an increasingly crucial role in the work that we do.  In this issue we are proud to highlight the generosity of Librarian Emeritus Kris Ecklund in our Thanks and Recognition section. 

As always, the Library works to be sure that our priorities are aligned with those of the university. I would also encourage you to share your thoughts and Feedback with us as they relate to creating the brightest possible future for the Oviatt, and to our continuing mission to serve the information needs of the CSUN community.

Mark Stover, Ph.D.

Dean, Oviatt Library