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Chadwell’s new agenda: Lots of work, little sleep, no Ducks and a bright future for OSU Libraries

For those of you keeping score at home, Faye Chadwell is the new Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian, and she’s also the new director of Oregon State University Press.

Faye Chadwell

Translation: She’s in charge.

That’s a good thing for OSU Libraries, which officially appointed Chadwell as head librarian May 11 after she served as the interim leader for the previous eight months. The North Carolina native came to OSU in 2007 as associate university librarian and has more than 20 years of experience in higher education librarianship.

There aren’t many free moments in the day for Chadwell lately, but she took time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions and tell us more about herself and her new duties:

After a lifetime back East, what drew you to OSU?

I grew up in North Carolina, so I consider myself a Southerner – I’m actually a native Tar Heel – more than an “East Coaster.” I moved to Oregon to take a position at the University of Oregon Libraries in 1995. I upgraded to OSU in 2007.

I had a wonderful opportunity to become an associate university librarian and work closely with the former university librarian Karyle Butcher, who was an excellent mentor and helped prepare me for my present position.

Your fingerprints are all over the OSU Libraries: special collections, archives, technical services and the Hatfield Marine Science Center. In terms of personal preference, does one area stand above the rest?

My passion as a librarian has always been collections – or, to be precise, doing what I can do to make sure a library user gets access to the content she needs to be successful. That encompasses a lot of what we do at OSU Libraries: checking out books, cataloging electronic journals, creating digital collections and teaching a student to evaluate resources, so I wouldn’t say one area really stands above the rest. It’s the outcome that matters to me, and (so is) knowing we had a positive impact on helping our users be successful students or faculty.

You also double as the director of OSU Press. Do you have enough time to eat and sleep?

Eat and sleep? What’s that? Becoming the OSU Press director actually was one of the attractions of this position. The Press staff is outstanding, and we publish terrific books. The Press has been a part of OSU Libraries since 2007, and we are seeing a lot of collaborations around digital publishing between the Press and several library units that are pretty exciting, so stay tuned.

What does the future hold for OSU Libraries? And how, if at all, might the e-reader movement affect things?

We will stay true to our mission. That means we will continue to support the mission of the university but do so by making the most of the flexibility, resourcefulness and innovation for which we are known. We will continue to use our assets to position ourselves at the intersection of teaching, learning and research. We want to be where the user needs us to be, and we want to deliver services and programs that our users need.

The e-reader movement is just one of many tech trends that will affect not only the way we deliver content but also because of the Press, the way we create or publish content. We already circulate Kindles to users. A group of our librarians is looking at other reader types so we can be better prepared to tackle the issues they create.

Where’s your favorite place to hang out in the library? (Don’t worry – we won’t tell anyone.)

Hmmm… This is a tough question. If I want to be alone with my thoughts and get some sunshine or cloudscape, the rotunda has been the place for a reading break. More often than not, I like to be in the work areas of the libraries, talking to the incredible faculty and staff who make working at OSU Libraries and the Press such a rewarding experience. It is a great place to hear the ideas constantly being generated or to learn about new technology.