I know everyone has been busy over the summer preparing for the fall semester (or recovering from not one, but two major floods in a week!) and it is almost here. Before we get caught up in the work of the Libraries, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who made the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Picnic an event so memorable—the planners, the volunteers, and the attendees—and to celebrate some of the accomplishments and milestones of the last year.
Most people think of faculty and staff appreciation events as a bookend to a fantastic year—a chance for the administration to acknowledge and thank people for work they have completed. While this is true, it doesn’t capture the full story. When these events are done well (as our picnic was), they also serve to create connections with our colleagues, reaffirm our joint purpose, and nurture future projects and collaborations. In other words, the “appreciation” part of the event should flow in all directions. So, with this in mind, it was wonderful to see people from Camden, Newark, and RBHS at the picnic. I also appreciate that special care was made to shuffle schedules and allow people who missed last year’s picnic to attend this year. Events like this provide opportunities for serendipity and reflection, and my big takeaway is that we work with a great group of people.
We lucked out on the weather. It was sunny and dry, but with an occasional breeze to cool us off. We enjoyed terrific food from Food Architects, played lawn games, and made buttons. A fun ice-breaker game helped us to mingle and meet our colleagues. It was a stellar event by any measure and I hope everyone had a good time. I am particularly grateful to the members of the Major Events Committee who worked hard to make this event a success: Matt Badessa, Janie Fultz, Pam Hargwood, Tad Hershorn, Tara Kelley, Rhonda Marker, Erica Parin, Jessica Pellien, Daphne Roberts, Rich Sandler, and Monique Whittle.
I mentioned these milestones in my speech at the picnic, but I think it is worth mentioning them here for those who were not in attendance. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but even in its sheer volume and variety, it hints at the depth of our accomplishments over the last year.
- We won grants for initiatives ranging from the New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project to the Virtual Data Collaboratory to the Digital Scholarship as 21st-Century Pedagogy courses at Rutgers University-Newark.
- Launched the Open and Affordable Textbooks Project, saving Rutgers students nearly $1.6 million
- Participated in the From Practice to Preceptor Program to help train the next generation of dental school faculty
- Far exceeded our fundraising goals on the second annual Rutgers Giving Day, thanks in no small part to the contributions of our faculty and staff
- Celebrated 50 years of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers–Newark and 50 years of Dana Library as a Federal Depository
- Welcomed Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first African American Librarian of Congress, to Rutgers–Camden
- Successfully made the transition from Kilmer Library to Carr Library
- Participated in the implementation of a new financial system and transitioned to a new email system
- Added countless new resources including thousands of ebooks, new databases, and collections of rare books and art
- Successfully completed a search for a new AVP/Director of New Brunswick Libraries
- And of course there are so many more achievements both large and small.
These accomplishments are only possible through your efforts. We all have a lot to be proud of and I look forward to seeing what the new school-year brings.