During the first four years of my tenure at the university my focus was squarely on positioning the Libraries for new directions where we would do things differently and/or do very different things. We chose four purposeful pathways as our focus and developed roadmaps to advance them: Collaboration, Digital Scholarship, Distinctive Collections and Spaces. I am deeply indebted to my colleagues who have contributed to these accomplishments and who moved the needle with a deep commitment to excellence in both new and core foundational responsibilities.
As I enter my fifth year as Vice Provost and Director of UT Libraries, we will continue this trend. With the help of the Provost’s Task Force on The Future of the UT Libraries, I am also keenly interested in learning more about the community’s awareness of what they need from the Libraries. More specifically, what library services, expertise, spaces, information resources and opportunities for broader partnership do they expect? How can we position UT Libraries more centrally as a core resource to stimulate student learning in order to advance President Fenves’ priority to unlock their potential? In what ways can librarians and professional experts add value to the research life-cycle that will net more grant funding, or inspire the creation of knowledge by connecting students, faculty, scholars and researchers to dynamic data and specialized or distinctive information resources? And how do we maintain our traditional strength in collection building while ensuring that those collections are appropriately preserved for use by future generations of scholars and students?
As one of the largest research universities in the country, UT must be equipped to support the highest level of research activity. Digital scholarship plays a key role in setting the stage for our continued momentum in investigation and innovation. It facilitates sharing of new knowledge across disciplines. What library facilities could be transformed to position the Libraries as the hub of collaboration, digital innovation and scholarly endeavor on the Forty Acres?
These are opportunities we should pursue and advance to align with and anchor ourselves to the university’s mission in a rapidly changing higher education environment. We are a core node in that environment with high potential to catalyze new forms of scholarship, reshape scholarly communication, energize teaching and seek new campus partners (and beyond) to leverage that potential.
Organizational agility and flexibility to respond to new opportunities will be a necessary component of our work in such an environment. I am very pleased with the progress we have made to date to create structures that will facilitate flexibility and to provide exciting professional growth opportunities through new skills training, projects, research and more.
Together we are poised to take the University of Texas Libraries to new heights and to honor the expectation and pride of our users to maintain a library of the first class that is dynamic, relevant and ready for future possibilities at The University of Texas at Austin.