June 2023

Dear Library colleagues,

A sincere “thank you” to all of you for the warm welcome you’ve shown me in my first three weeks here as dean and university librarian. Although I didn’t get to meet everyone, the summer social was great fun and I am glad I did get to say hello to a great many of you.

I’ve been working my way through previous issues of Library Office Notes and it’s been a good way to start to understand your work, your research interests, and your accomplishments on a slightly deeper level. This month and next I will be getting a chance to tour our library locations and starting to have unit meetings to delve more deeply into the opportunities and challenges you are working through. I think summer is the perfect time to have started this new role as the pace is more relaxed and I feel as though I’ll have a chance to get my bearings a little before the crush and bustle of the fall semester.

When I first wrote to you I mentioned leading with gratitude. I would also like to share a few thoughts about wellness and care. Some of you have written me apologetic messages about missing this meeting or that due to preplanned vacation or other time away. I am a firm believer in a healthy work/life balance and would love to hear that no one ever loses their earned leave because they haven’t had a chance to schedule time away from the office. In particular now, as we still struggle as a society with the effects of the pandemic and a certain level of society-wide discord, please remember to take time for yourselves. Early in my career I experienced some fairly significant work burnout, and coupled with some of the other stressors in my life (family, health, etc.) I went through some very challenging years. I know that many of us in the Library are dealing with difficult things, at work and at home. This is hard and I hope we can remember to be compassionate to each other, and to ourselves.

Claire Stewart
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian