January 2017

Holiday Wishes and a Year Well Done

The holidays are approaching and I write to thank everyone for the great work that’s taken place in the last year. On Christmas, I’ll celebrate my 60th birthday with family in Chambana, the place we happily call home. I plan to indulge a little (I have some very nice Italian wines salted away for just this occasion!), and hope you will indulge, too.

We have a great library, and our campus has a great appreciation for the work that we do. I’d like to thank each of you for all you’ve done in the last year to make our library great and for everything you do to advance our mission. There were many challenges this year, and yet we continue to make great strides.

As we close the year, I hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on the many accomplishments that I called out in my State of the Library address. We continue to build on those successes, and now we can more clearly see accomplishments like Grainger’s IDEA Lab and the changes to the Main and Undergraduate Libraries. With your continued hard work, we are on the brink of implementing a promotional framework for Academic Professionals, and because of your efforts the Big Ten Academic Alliance has awarded us responsibility for the 2nd phase of the Shared Print Repository (SPR 2.0). That all of this has happened in the midst of the state’s failure to pass a budget, as well as budget reductions on the campus, makes your contributions all the more remarkable.

I am apt to see our work through my own personal hopes for our library: those hopes are, for me, a thread that runs through all of our work. The remarkable work we are doing in units like the Research Data Service and Scholarly Communication and Publishing contributes significantly to transforming scholarly communication, whether through a robust data service or through collaboration with our faculty in creating new forms of publication. These efforts help us to advance the mission of the university and to improve the scholarly ecosystem. Efforts like the SPR 2.0 can contribute to cost savings and improved curation for many of our libraries. And the improvements we have made to our facilities–the floors and doors in Main and Undergrad, the IDEA Lab–are one of the most visible manifestations of who we are and what we do.

I want to remind everyone that the organizational climate of the library can either contribute to or harm our ability to succeed. Budget pressures intensify organizational pressures, making it harder for us to work together; external challenges this last year, including the cultural climate during the election, affect us all, as well. You have thrived despite those pressures. The recent statement by Chancellor Jones and Provost Feser (echoed in https://illinois.edu/blog/view/7197/438429) is just the latest reflection of the strength of our community’s commitment to inclusion. Your commitment to our wonderfully inclusive library culture and to a healthy climate in the library has contributed to our success.

Thank you for all you’ve done to make this year and our Library exceptional. Your commitment and the excellence of your work continues to distinguish this Library and make it one of the most important parts of the campus. I hope you have a very special break and enjoy the holidays. With all of my indulgence, I may come back from the break using a new notch in my belt. Of course if the weather warms and the ice stays off the sidewalks, Nick, my son, will probably make me run a gazillion miles with him, and that may keep things in check. My best and my thanks to everyone, and I hope you have a great time away from work.

John Wilkin
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian