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Oviatt Spotlight: Kathy Dabbour, Associate Dean

eNews Edition: Spring 2016

Laurie Borchard, Digital Learning Initiatives Librarian and Meet the Librarians of the Oviatt blogger, poses some candid questions to the Oviatt’s newly appointed Associate Dean Kathy Dabbour.

Kathy Dabbour was appointed the Oviatt Library’s Associate Dean in January 2016. Kathy is a true valley girl and has a long history with CSUN.  She’s been a student, staff and faculty member. She has experience working in various parts of the Oviatt in many different roles. She has a strong passion for student success and moving the mission of the library and university forward. Learn more about Kathy below!

Oviatt Library Associate Dean, Kathy Dabbour
Oviatt Library Associate Dean, Kathy Dabbour

How long have you worked at the library and in what capacity?

I started as a student assistant while I was working on my BA at CSUN, and worked in the Circulation (Guest Services) Dept. for about five years in shelving, the desk, and in fines and billing. I was also a Class III student supervisor. While at UCLA in library school, I did an internship in the Reference (Research, Instruction and Outreach Services) Dept., and when I graduated with my MLS, I was hired as a full-time temporary librarian, and worked as a reference and instruction librarian for four years. I left CSUN for about eight years and worked as a tenure-track science librarian at CSU San Bernardino and then in the Biomedical Library at UCLA. I returned to CSUN as a part-time temporary librarian in 2000, and was hired on the tenure track in June 2001. I worked as a reference and instruction librarian and over the years, specialized in business, law, government documents, journalism, and communication studies. I also wrote and spent six years as the project director for the library’s US Dept. of Education, Title V, Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant, and served as the library’s assessment coordinator for 12 years. I also served as acting chair for a couple of years, and was elected chair of RIOS in 2015. I was appointed Associate Dean in January 2016.

What has motivated you throughout your career?

Serving students and promoting the library as a vital part of student success.

What are the 3 things you love about working at CSUN/Oviatt library?

Our students, our faculty/staff, my co-workers.

What are your goals for the future in your new role as Associate Dean?

In support of our mission, represent the Library as a vital partner in student learning and success, faculty pedagogy and scholarship, and community engagement. Guide our strategic planning to ensure that we stay focused on our mission. Facilitate library staff’s access to information and resources that assist in their provision of collections and services that support our mission.

What do you envision as the future of academic libraries in general and the role they play on campus?

I see the library as place continuing to evolve as more than a repository of books and other physical materials, a provider of online resources, and/or a computer lab, but as a place to study, read, explore, create, learn, socialize, and find comfort. I think of these activities as a big part of the co-curricular, absolutely vital to the curricular success of our students.

How has your research and work as a faculty member influenced any of the above?

My research and scholarship activities have tended to focus on assessment of library services and information literacy, and projects related to what I learned working on the HSI grant. I think of these activities as a two-way street: sometimes my work influenced my scholarship, sometimes it was vice versa. In particular, I think assessment made me more aware of the usefulness of data-driven planning and decision-making. However, my years of work in public services also taught me the importance of understanding our users’ needs, so that planning and decision-making must also come from intuition as well as experience and hard data.

If there is anything else you want to share about yourself, let me know. 

I was raised in the San Fernando Valley, and came of age during the Valley Girl era! I’ve travelled to Europe, the Middle East, as well as North America. I’m a single mother of two boys—one in high school and one in elementary school, both a year from “graduation,” and my fur daughter is a kitty named Misty who promises to stay with me after the boys move out. When I was in college, I wanted to work in publicity and public relations in the music industry, and actually did that for a short time, met rock stars, went to concerts, and had a blast! My father was a professional percussionist, and I learned to love all genres of music, but my favorite is still hard rock. Somewhere along the way, I started looking at graduate schools, and vacillated between getting a master’s in library science or teaching English as a second language, but library school, and academic libraries won out. I’ve grown up at CSUN and consider it my home-away-from-home, and when I say I come here to relax, it’s the truth!