Finalists for dean of libraries visit campus

Emily DeLetter

The committee to pick the new dean of libraries will make its selection for the new position by the end of the week, according to the head of the selection committee.

In preparation for the upcoming retirement of current dean of Libraries Connie Foster, dean of Potter College Larry Snyder said the strengths and weaknesses for the two final candidates will be discussed by the committee. Snyder will then submit the committee’s choice to Provost David Lee, who will ultimately make the final decision.

After Foster announced her retirement, a 12-member committee was formed, including Snyder and faculty from the libraries and other colleges at the university. They created an advertisement for the position and narrowed it down to two candidates, who were interviewed over Skype.

“They were well-prepared, acted professionally and asked very good questions in front of the panel,” Snyder said.

Susann deVries  and Dallas Long, the two finalists for the position, spent two days on WKU’s campus following a packed schedule,  including meet-and-greets with library faculty and staff, a tour of the libraries and a public forum faculty, staff and students could attend to ask questions.

deVries, currently the interim University Librarian at Eastern Michigan University, visited April 17 and 18. She has a master’s of Science in Historic Preservation, a bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and Education and a professional teaching certificate.

“My guiding mantra is ‘connect with the library, connect with the world,’” deVries  said at her public forum. “Libraries play a crucial role in knowledge creation and the stewardship responsibility for today and tomorrow’s generation.”

deVries said she believes the library plays a crucial role as the 

By Emily DeLetter

[email protected]

The committee to pick the new dean of libraries will make its selection for the new position by the end of the week, according to the head of the selection committee.

In preparation for the upcoming retirement of current Dean of Libraries Connie Foster, Dean of Potter College Larry Snyder said the strengths and weaknesses for the two final candidates will be discussed by the committee. Snyder will then submit the committee’s choice to Provost David Lee, who will ultimately make the final decision.

After Foster announced her retirement, a 12-member committee was formed, including Snyder and faculty from the libraries and other colleges at the university. They created an advertisement for the position and narrowed it down to two candidates, who were interviewed over Skype.

“They were well-prepared, acted professionally and asked very good questions in front of the panel,” Snyder said.

Susann DeVries  and Dallas Long, the two finalists for the position, spent two days on WKU’s campus following a packed schedule,  including meet-and-greets with library faculty and staff, a tour of the libraries and a public forum faculty, staff and students could attend to ask questions.

DeVries, currently the interim University Librarian at Eastern Michigan University, visited April 17 and 18. She has a Master’s of Science in Historic Preservation, a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and Education and a professional teaching certificate.

“My guiding mantra is ‘connect with the library, connect with the world,’” DeVries  said at her public forum. “Libraries play a crucial role in knowledge creation and the stewardship responsibility for today and tomorrow’s generation.”

DeVries said she believes that the library plays a crucial role as the center of a university, serving as a social and intellectual hub.

“Having different types of spaces and providing different environments leads to the success of our students,” deVries  said.

Long, who visited campus Monday and Tuesday of this week, is currently employed by Illinois State University as the associate dean of University Libraries. A lifelong library professional with career experience in public, corporate and university libraries, Long said he credited his continuation in education to the librarians he worked with during his time as an undergraduate student.

“I’m a student-focused librarian,” Long said during his public forum. “The way we should approach library services, collections and technologies in the library really should have student success at their core.”

Long said he thinks the library is strongly focused on student support.

“We’re more knowledgeable today about different pedagogies, student experiences and different kinds of barriers students face in their campus environment,” Long said. “I believe that the library can play a role in reducing those barriers.”

Long also stressed the importance of community involvement.

“Showing [the library’s] value to our community through programs, exhibits and guest speakers to increase community support and donations may be vital for us,” Long said. “It will also show the university that the library has a role in supporting the community, and vice versa.”

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected]