Photo Courtesy of Dr. Katherine Quinnell
In early February it was announced that Dr. Katherine Quinnell was named Tarleton State University’s first Dean of University Libraries. Dr. Quinnell has been with Tarleton since the beginning of February and previously served as a Library Director at Athens State University.
“I have a lot of feelings, I’m excited honestly. The first thing that rises to my head is excitement. I see Tarleton as a great opportunity for myself but I also see it as a place that’s still growing. Which I think is important for any institution. I’m excited to be here to help with that growth and to help the students achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve. That’s our purpose, our purpose is to assist students in achieving whatever their goals are and I’m excited to be a part of that,” Dr. Quinnell said.
Dr. Quinnell’s decision to move to Tarleton was influenced by the fact that Athens State University was a Junior, Senior level university that only catered to higher level undergraduate students and students seeking their master’s degrees.
“I missed the Freshmen, I missed being able to do the fun programing to get students interested in coming to the library and then do the teaching. I missed working with the freshmen and growing those relationships from the beginning,” Dr. Quinnell said. “That was something that I felt [that] Tarleton would help me regain.”
Taking on the position of Inaugural Dean of University Libraries is a new and exciting move for Dr. Quinnell. Although some could say that taking over the role of Inaugural Dean of anything could be intimidating, Dr. Quinnell has taken on the position with a positive and upbeat attitude.
“I’m actually quite happy to be the Inaugural Dean [of University Libraries.] It gives me the opportunity to grow the library and to grow the staff and to grow with the institution which I think is important,” Dr. Quinnell said.
In the position of Dean of University Libraries Dr. Quinnell will focus on expanding and connecting to all kinds of students here at Tarleton.
“[Being able to connect with the students] is essential. That’s essential to any services we do no matter who the student is whether they’re an undergraduate or graduate, whether they’re here on the Stephenville campus or at one of our satellite campuses, it’s important to be able to reach the students where they are and to grow those relationships,” Dr. Quinnell said.
In order to expand the libraries reach Dr. Quinnell needs to look at the functionality of the libraries and make the necessary changes to the procedures to bring in more students.
“I have some ideas and I have some directions that I think will be beneficial but I want to leave room for the staff, the librarians and the staff, to have input in the directions we go. So, one of the things that I’m looking at doing is revamping the service options. I think right now our service options are geared in a traditional model and I think it’s important to rework that to be more of a patron centered model. [To me that means] services geared to undergraduates will be slightly different than serviced geared to graduates, which will be slightly different from services geared to the faculty. So, I’m looking at revising how we do that and [to] make it more centered around who we’re serving not necessarily how we’re serving,” Dr. Quinnell said.
Dr. Quinnell will also be looking at new ways to promote the libraries at Tarleton with new programing ideas.
Some of these ideas include a Halloween themed scavenger hunt and workshops. They also include resources for professors who need assistance getting their students interested in going to the library.
“Programming for me is a way to get people in the building and a way to get them to identify that we’re more than just the research, we’re more than just the books, we’re more than just the materials. With undergraduates reaching out and possibly doing a Halloween night where we close the building a little bit early and then we hand out candy in the stacks and we make them do some sort of scavenger hunt. For the graduates it becomes something more along the lines of don’t be too scared of a literature review, don’t let the literature review scare you and then having workshops and programming both online and in person to assist them with that process, that research process,” Dr. Quinnell said. “For the faculty [it’s] doing things like workshops for speakers and workshops for professional development. Faculty also need assistance sometimes with being able to find sources and so helping them with their own research. A lot of them are experts in the field that they’re in and they’re looking at that one piece that’s just going to make everything mesh together. My librarians can help with that and those would be some of the services that we would offer.”
To learn more about Dr. Quinnell and her journey to Tarleton you can visit: www.tarleton.edu/library/chronicles/documents/chronicles-issue11.pdf.
Also, on April 4, 2021 National Library Week starts. To celebrate Tarleton libraries are unveiling this year’s READ Poster honorees live on Facebook. To learn more about this event you can go to: calendar.tarleton.edu/library/event/83848-national-library-week
To learn more about the resources that Tarleton’s Dick Smith and Rickett libraries offer you can visit their website at: www.tarleton.edu/library/index.html