September 18, 2009

University Librarian Prepares to Retire


When Joanne Eustis arrived at Case Western Reserve University in August 1998, students and faculty were trying to find the best information and resources to support their teaching, research, and scholarship. As she approaches her retirement later this fall, Eustis said that same sentiment still holds true.

While information formats have changed over time, Eustis said people still use Kelvin Smith Library--the main library supporting the teaching and research of Case Western Reserve-- and the specific school/affiliate libraries as a starting point for research.

"This is a time of transition for libraries. It's a different world where people are as engaged with digital materials as they are with print materials,” Eustis said. "The information is the same, but often where they find it is in a different place."

Eustis came to Case Western Reserve from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where she served as the interim library director, director of planning in the Information Technology Services department, and as Faculty Senate President.

Selected highlights that have occurred while Eustis has been at the helm of the Kelvin Smith Library:

  • The CaseLearns program, which served over 1000 faculty, students and staff in 2009, was established;
  • The 2005 opening of the Samuel B. & Marian K. Freedman Digital Library, Language Learning, and Multimedia Services Center--a partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Kelvin Smith Library;
  • Digital Case, which preserves digital information, was established;
  • An emphasis on direct patron service. "We've focused on working with faculty as individuals and buying, to the extent we are able, what they need," Eustis said. ;
  • The launch of 24/7 building access for students; and
  • Both printed and electronic materials have been expanded to more than two million items. Kelvin Smith Library is a member of the Association of Research Libraries and OhioLINK. Learn more about the library's holdings and statistics.

Throughout the years, Eustis and her staff of 59 have used a variety of mechanisms to gauge how well they were doing, including LibQUAL Surveys. In 2008, nearly 600 faculty, students and staff responded to the LibQUAL questionnaire. Comparing responses from a survey conducted in 2003 to last year's LibQUAL, the library administration has created additional study rooms, updated computer equipment, introduced the CPL@Case-KSL collection, redesigned the KSL Web site, and expanded access to eJournals.

A New England native, Eustis and her husband will move to Charleston, S.C., where they've been renovating a house. They plan trips to Tucson, Arizona, and intend to live for a time in Spain.

Although travel and downtime is in her future, Eustis, who has a doctoral degree in public policy and planning, said she may pursue a second career in environmental or urban planning.

As Eustis reflected on her time with Case Western Reserve, she said she hopes area libraries will join forces in the future. "There's an opportunity for University Circle libraries to collaborate more. Cleveland could be a destination for scholars in a number of fields. Everyone's struggling for space and with finances, so a culture of sharing is important."

Case Western Reserve has announced that a national search will begin immediately for a new university librarian.

"We are at a crucial junction for libraries in general, and for the Case Western Reserve University library system in particular," said Peter Haas, chair of the faculty library committee. "With the rapid changes facing libraries on the one hand, and increasingly tight budgets on the other, libraries all over are struggling to find ways to maintain their core missions. Over the last few years that I have been privileged to work with Joanne Eustis, I have seen how she has navigated the university libraries through these shoals and conflicting currents. Through managing a diverse set of libraries, working with new technologies and dealing with the various demands of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, Joanne has moved the library system on campus into new and exciting areas. This has taken both vision and skill, and she has brought both to her work here," added Haas, Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies, chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and director of the Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies.

Mohan Reddy, dean of the Weatherhead School of Management, will chair the university librarian search committee. Timothy Robson, currently deputy director, will serve as interim university librarian.

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, September 18, 2009 09:03 AM | News Topics: Research, news

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