Publication Date

Summer 2016


One of my most enjoyable "duties" as Director of Libraries over the past 12 years has been to participate in our annual spring commencement ceremonies. It is always heart-warming to see the exhilaration of the students and the pride of their families as the graduates cross the stage and being a new chapter of their lives.

This year, Commencement held a special meaning for me as I retire after 23 years as a professional librarian. Just as with each of those newly graduated students, I am beginning a new chapter in my life. Like them, I am excited by the opportunities ahead (traveling, spending time with family and friends, and binge watching all those television series I haven't seen because I was doing email every evening) but also wistful about leaving what has been the focus of my life for the past 12 years — working with the exceptionally talented and extremely dedicated staff at the UMass Amherst Libraries to provide the best possible library services, collections and facilities for our students, faculty and community at large.

There have been the "splashy," highly visible successes like the Learning Commons, ScholarWorks, Credo, Falcon Cam, Open Education Initiative, and the Digital Media Lab with 3D Printing. Equally important have been the innovative services and workflows in Interlibrary Loan, Information Resource Management, E-Reserves, and Virtual Reference Service. But none of this could have come to fruition without those who provide the basic infrastructure of the Libraries — Library Systems, Administrative Services and Building Monitors, the Library Office, the Science & Engineering Library, the Image Collection Library, Access Services, Undergraduate Teaching & Learning Services and research and Liaison Services.

Essential to supporting the UMass Amherst Libraries and funding many of these extraordinary efforts has been the Friends of the Library Board, the Libraries' UMass Rising Capital Campaign Committee, and our exceptionally talented Development and Communications Department. Under the leadership of Campaign Chair, Lorrey Bianchi '69, the Libraries have raised almost $45 million to support improved collections and facilities. As I have said before, the Libraries are blessed with a large number of donors which has allowed us to move to a level of excellence that would not be possible if we depended only on campus funding.

As I retire, many congratulate me on my successes over the years. These successes are not mine. They belong to the team and the individuals with whom it has been a privilege to work over the past years. More than anything, I will miss them and you, the Friends of the Libraries. You have made me look successful and I very sincerely appreciate your efforts and support.