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Message from the Dean: Diversity, Innovation, and the Preservation of History

eNews Edition: Spring 2023

The CSUN University Library is a hub of information and activity, constantly evolving and expanding to meet the diverse needs of our students, staff and faculty. This issue of the University Library eNews is a testament to that diversity, as it covers a wide range of topics that demonstrate the breadth and depth of the resources and services available to the CSUN community. The articles also show a clear alignment with CSUN’s mission and strategic principles that permeate all aspects of our work.

CSUN University Library Dean Mark Stover
CSUN University Library Dean Mark Stover

One of the featured topics in this issue is the Library’s Black History Month events. These events, sponsored or co-sponsored by the University Library, serve as an important reminder of the vital role that the Library plays in promoting diversity and inclusivity on campus. Through a series of lectures, musical events, and exhibits, the Library highlighted the rich history and contributions of African Americans, while also acknowledging the challenges and struggles they have faced in the past – and continue to confront today. Such events create a sense of community, foster dialogue and understanding, and provide an opportunity for people to learn about the Black experience and perspective. They also align directly with the aspirational goal of the campus to “stand in our values of equity, inclusion, and justice.”

Another topic covered in this issue of the Library eNews is the Library’s adoption of new technology in its interactive group study rooms. These rooms have been updated with cutting-edge technology that allows students to collaborate and engage with course material in innovative ways. Equipped with touch screens, web cams, high-definition displays, and other state-of-the-art tools, these rooms are designed to facilitate collaborative learning and problem-solving, making them an invaluable resource for students across all disciplines. In addition, the updated study rooms fit solidly into the campus strategic ambition of “a clear commitment to the overall success of our students.”

A new archive in Special Collections and Archives is another exciting development featured in this issue of the eNews. This archival collection covers the history of Los Angeles back to the 1890s, providing a unique glimpse into the city’s past through the lens of several intertwined families. By preserving and making these materials accessible, the Library is not only contributing to the historical record, but also providing researchers, scholars, and students with a wealth of information about the cultural, social, and political evolution of Los Angeles over time. This emphasis on maintaining a connection to the history of the region aligns with the CSUN strategic intention of “strengthening community connections.”

The eNews also features an interview with the Library’s new Endowed Education Librarian, who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Library. Her appointment highlights the Library’s commitment to providing exceptional services and resources to CSUN students, faculty, and community users, while also recognizing the important role that K-12 education plays in shaping our society and our future. The arrival of the Endowed Education Librarian fits well with CSUN’s strategic goal of building “a solid foundation of academic excellence.”

Finally, the eNews reports on the results of the University Library’s most recent survey of CSUN students. The survey provides valuable insights into how students are using the Library’s resources and services, and how the Library can better meet their needs. By engaging in regular feedback and assessment, the Library is able to continuously improve and adapt to the changing needs of its users, ensuring that it remains a vital and dynamic resource for the CSUN community. Listening to students, and responding to their needs, is in perfect alignment with CSUN’s strategic principle of “a clear commitment to the overall success of our students.”

Taken together, these diverse topics highlight the important role that the CSUN University Library plays in supporting the academic and intellectual endeavors of the CSUN community. Through its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity, providing cutting-edge technology and resources, preserving the historical record, recruiting outstanding professionals, and engaging in regular feedback and assessment, the Library is able to provide an exceptional experience for all its users – with special emphasis on the needs of CSUN students. This eclecticism is a strength of the Library, as it ensures that we remain responsive and relevant to the needs of our diverse user community.

In the words of the great writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, "The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are." The CSUN University Library's commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity, as well as our desire to preserve the historical record, is essential for the liberation and growth of CSUN students, who are our primary users. With our cutting-edge resources, exceptional services, and diverse programming, the Library is not just a repository of books and information but a vital and dynamic institution that empowers its users to reach their full potential with a well-rounded skillset and perspective.