As the Dean of Libraries, I don’t have many occasions to interact directly with students in the course of my job. Yet, serving FAU’s students is the primary motivation behind all my decisions.
Unlike a professor, or a circulation staff member, or a reference librarian, my job does not bring me into contact with students. I see the students every day as they come in the library or come in the Dean’s Suite to pick up a piece of chocolate but I don’t usually have a chance to talk with them.
So, several times a semester, I try to make an opportunity to interact with our students by hosting a Dean’s “Meet and Greet” in the Wimberly Library. I provide coffee and munchkins from Dunkin Donuts and stand there for an hour and talk with whoever happens to come by. Sometimes I have a theme and sometimes I don’t. The first such occasion this semester took place on Thursday, August 31 in the first floor lobby.
The theme this time was the ongoing transformation of the Wimberly Library. I was standing in the newly redesigned first-floor lobby, right next to the new mobile device charging stations and adjacent to where the old reference desk used to be.
I had conversations with transfer students (several from Broward College) who were loving the friendly and helpful environment they were finding at FAU. I talked with juniors and seniors from a wide variety of majors, many of whom told me that the library is the most comfortable and welcoming place they have found on the campus. Many students told me that they were commuters and the library was their home base when they were not in classes.
Some students had seen notice of the “meet and greet” on social media and had stopped by expressly to talk with me or just shake my hand.
I was surprised by the number of students who had not yet been up to the newly renovated fifth floor. Some students didn’t know that we had more than three floors because they had only used the side of the building that has only three floors.
I talked with graduate students, some of whom had not yet visited the graduate student lounge or who didn’t know that we added a group study room to that area over the summer.
There was one common thread in all the discussions: the students are happy with the changes that are being made in the Wimberly Library. It was gratifying to hear such positive comments and we will continue to work hard to make the FAU Libraries the kind of place and provide the kinds of services and collections that they need.