Turning the Page: The Next Chapter of Rutgers University Libraries

I want to take one last opportunity to thank you all for making me feel so welcome at my first State of the Libraries meeting as your University Librarian. Though we were again unable to meet face-to-face as is our tradition, I appreciated the level of participation and engagement that you all brought to the meeting despite what was a very lengthy and packed agenda.

If you were not able to attend, please do take some time to review the State of the Libraries staff resources site. There you will find a recording of the entire event as well as links to all the presentations that were offered.

That said, I thought it would be important to review once more the takeaways from my listening sessions with colleagues across the Libraries, as they are the pillars that are going to inform my work in the months ahead:

  • Improve communications. Increasing transparency for decision making at all levels in the organization and improving the flow of internal and external communications.
  • Change organizational culture. Breaking down our organizational hierarchies and rebuilding trust within. It also involves creating a culture of recognition within the Libraries, where we celebrate our faculty and staff’s successes and provide opportunities for upward mobility.
  • Enhance organizational clarity. Creating a unifying mission for the Libraries, one that emphasizes the notion of “one Library” and will center the Libraries within President Holloway’s vision for the university.

As we discovered during our word cloud exercise at State of the Libraries, there are a wide variety of reasons why our faculty and staff decided to come to work at Rutgers University Libraries, ranging from the promise of lifelong learning to the opportunity to work with our diverse students and faculty. Whatever those reasons may be, it’s my goal to bring us together, to chart our path forward, and move us in a unified and purposeful direction. I hope you will join me in the weeks and months to come as we work toward shared understanding and move the organization toward more common goals.

To that end, please save the date of Wednesday, July 28 for our continuing work with the Center for Organizational Leadership and its Excellence in Higher Education Framework, Community Conversations: Focused and Facilitated Conversations with Colleagues from across Rutgers Libraries regarding Organizational Strengths and Areas for Potential Improvement. There are two identical sessions scheduled, one from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. and the other from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m. Please feel free to attend whichever works best for your schedule.

As Dr. Moghe said in his address to us at State of the Libraries, “Nothing represents the university coming together as vividly as the Libraries coming together.” I look forward to working with you all as we embark on this work of coming together and as we turn the page to start our next chapter so that we may better serve the entire Rutgers community.

Consuella Askew