Over the past several years, the University’s libraries have undergone a number of changes including the renovation of the third floor of Waterfield Library and the addition of new available technology such as iPads and dual monitor computers to the library system.
At the end of this semester the library will be subjected to another change: the stepping down of the dean of the university libraries, the man responsible for many of these changes made to the libraries in the past five years.
Adam Murray, dean of University Libraries, formally submitted his letter of resignation shortly after the spring semester began and announced he will accept the position of dean of Libraries and Educational Technology at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.
Murray said the position at James Madison was enticing to him for a number of reasons including the university’s similarity in size and demographic to Murray State, but also in its strategic plans for the future, which are focused on engagement.
“Really that word ‘engagement’ has been at the heart of what I’m trying to do here,” he said. “Look at the ways people engage with each other, with information, with their learning experiences, with their research and taking that out of the formal classroom.”
He said the fact that James Madison had “engagement” as its core concept, which was going to define it for the next 10 years, was exciting for him.
“All the check boxes of what I’m looking for in a potential position lined up,” Murray said. “It just seemed like the perfect next step for my career.”
Murray, who was appointed as interim dean in 2007, will serve as dean until June 30.
A search committee has been formed and tasked with naming Murray’s successor in six months. The committee, headed by Bob Pervine, associate provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, submitted the job advertisement to Human Resources this week.
Administration hopes to have it posted online and in academic journals by Feb. 1.
Pervine said the committee is looking for someone with experience in an academic library setting, with fundraising and who has a vision of what a 21st century library should be like. He said they prefer candidates who also have experience with library renovations or the construction of a new library.
“We need to do something with our current (library) facilities,” he said. “I think that’s something everyone realizes and that’s something that will be on the horizon and with which our next library dean will certainly be involved with in some way.”
With funding for Murray State’s new Engineering and Physics Building secured via state funding, Pervine said Murray State will be re-prioritizing its capital.
Plans for major renovations to Waterfield Library or the construction of a new facility have both been on the table as possible future projects for several years, he said.
After Spring Break the search committee hopes to have narrowed down its list of possible candidates to three or four finalists.
Murray said the most important things for the next dean to be are collaborative and innovative.
“A lot of people still hear the word ‘library’ and they have the traditional notion of a dusty warehouse with dusty books,” he said.
Murray said he hopes his lasting legacy at Murray State is that he’s helped people understand that libraries aren’t just about warehousing books, but places which can meet people’s needs in a variety of fashions.
“While books are part of what we do, that’s not all of it,” Murray said. It’s important they make sure they keep that in mind and continue to expand the services and meet the demand and evolving need of the different constituencies.”
Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer