Libraries look to grow alongside university

Acquisitions coordinator Teresa Schureman looks on as  associate provost of Library Information Services makes a speech at his reception. -Staff photo/Laura Pollack

Acquisitions coordinator Teresa Schureman looks on as
associate provost of Library Information Services makes a speech at his reception. -Staff photo/Laura Pollack

As Rowan continues to expand in Glassboro and Camden, the campus libraries are faced with the challenge of handling both an increase in students and the students’ needs for more electronic resources. Scott Muir, associate provost of Library Information Services, was hired in July to take on that challenge.

The organization Friends of Campbell Library hosted a reception for Muir on April 23 where faculty and staff got a chance to hear Muir’s plans for the future as well as share their ideas with him.

Muir has been a librarian for 36 years, working at various colleges all over the country including Boston College, the University of Alabama and Eastern Michigan University. Muir spent the last seven years working at Arizona State University, where he was the director of two libraries for a college that was rapidly expanding.

“We experienced phenomenal growth, adding over 1,000 students every year,” Muir said.

The ability to work in an environment of a growing campus is what originally attracted Muir to South Jersey.

“Rowan’s plan for growth and the merger of two medical campuses, along with the plans to transition to more electronic resources, caught my attention,” Muir said.

Muir’s biggest plans for the future of Rowan’s libraries focus on adapting to how students learn in today’s technology-driven environment.

“When I was little, libraries were quiet but now students come to the libraries to work together and engage,” Muir said. “It’s this creative collaboration process that’s a different way of learning and working. We need to start to look at how our students work today using more electronic resources.”

One way Library Services aim to accomplish this is through more data analyzing to discover what students are using and why, and if students know about the different resources the library offers.

Deborah Gaspar, who started this week as Rowan University Libraries Director of Public Services, said that Muir is working hard to bring more electronic resources to the libraries, which she believe are important for students who don’t live on campus. Gaspar views the website as a branch of the library that students can always access. 

After just nine months of Muir working at Rowan, staff members are noticing a difference.

“We’ve already seen so many changes,” said library data analyst Kate Boland.

One of those changes was the formation of groups comprised of staff from the Glassboro, Camden and Stratford. These groups meet in person and hold video conferences to discuss ideas on how to improve library functions. Boland said this has “really improved communication” between the different campuses.

Chair of FoCaL Razelle Frankl said she is excited to continue her work with Muir, especially during such a big period of change and growth for the university. She said it is a challenge for Muir to enhance all aspects of the library services.

“The library is so much more than just books,” Frankl said. “It’s the key to the center of the university.”

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