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Message from the Dean: A New Chapter - Reflecting on Transitions

eNews Edition: Spring 2024

The great British playwright Tom Stoppard once said, “Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” This axiom is a bit of a cliché, but it is also in many ways profound. There are so many exits in our lives these days that when a big one comes, like a retirement, one tends to forget that, yes, another door will open soon.

After thirteen fulfilling years of service as the Dean of the University Library at California State University, Northridge, I plan to retire in August 2024. As I embark on this new chapter of my life, I am grateful for my journey at CSUN and the opportunities I’ve had to work with an amazing array of colleagues, students, volunteers, and donors.

I like to use the verb “co-create,” because nothing that I have done at CSUN has been on my own. I have been very fortunate to work with a talented and dedicated team of librarians and library staff who have provided me with tremendous support throughout my time on campus. One of our proudest achievements has been establishing the first Endowed Librarian position in the CSU system, the Dr. Karin J. Durán and Richard Nupoll Education Librarian, ensuring a sustainable future for the Library’s role in training future teachers. This would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of former Director of Development Luann Rocha, alumnus and donor Rick Nupoll, and many others.

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

My colleagues and I have also worked to expand and enrich the CSUN Library's resources and services. Several distinct collections were integrated into the University Library during the past thirteen years, including the CSUN Map Collection, the National Center on Deafness (NCOD) Library, and the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center photographic archives. During this time, we also administered major Library renovations and expansions like the Learning Commons, the Creative Maker Studio, and Special Collections & Archives. The Library’s aim has always been to create a dynamic and inclusive space for student learning and discovery, and these ambitious projects have been instrumental in helping us achieve our objective.

Collaboration has been at the heart of our success. Partnering with the Division of Information Technology, we have spearheaded initiatives that harness technology to empower our students. We also welcomed into the Library the Learning Resource Center (LRC), CSUN’s central space on campus for tutoring and supplemental instruction. The establishment of the Gohstand Reading Room Biennial Lecture Series and the San Fernando Valley Awards for Fiction and Non-Fiction are testaments to our commitment to intellectual engagement and community enrichment. The painting of a beautiful mural in the Library honoring the indigenous people of the San Fernando Valley was evidence of our multi-faceted collaboration with the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, the CSUN American Indian Studies program, the CSUN Art Department, and local muralist Lindsay Carron.

None of these achievements would have been possible without the support of my colleagues in the Library and across the CSUN campus. Their passion, creativity, and dedication have been the driving force behind our accomplishments, and I am profoundly thankful for their partnership and sense of shared purpose.

I would also like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to our donors and volunteers— CSUN alumni, retired faculty and staff, and community members. Your generosity and commitment to advancing education have made a lasting impact on CSUN, especially in the lives of our students, and I am deeply grateful for your contributions. Illustrative of this spirit of giving is the Library’s annual Student Scholarship Reception, one of my favorite events of the year, where this spring we were able to give out 32 substantial scholarships to meritorious Library Student Assistants. In addition, Library volunteers exemplify the service-based mission of the CSUN by faithfully attending monthly meetings and planning events for the three boards that fall under the aegis of the Library: the Bonita J. Campbell Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Endowment, the Friends of the Library, and the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center. 

As I prepare to say goodbye to a job that has brought me joy and fulfillment, I am reminded of Tom Stoppard’s metaphor of life as a series of entries and exits. While I may be closing this chapter of my professional life, I am excited about the adventures that lie ahead and the new opportunities for growth and discovery. But I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous about the unknowns on the horizon. And I am already experiencing the bittersweet moments of loss when I reflect on leaving a job that I have loved so much. 

For all of you who have worked with me, through good times but also through times of difficult challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic along with various building calamities, I am thankful for your support, your friendship, and your dedication to the mission of our university. Together we have achieved great things, and I am confident that in the coming years the CSUN University Library will continue to thrive and inspire generations of students who enter our doors.