Message from the Interim Vice Provost and University Libraries

Message from the Interim Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian

Deb Ward, Interim Vice Provost and University Librarian

Dear MU Faculty and Staff,

Congratulations to all for the successful completion of the academic year amid challenging circumstances.

During the Spring Semester 2020, the Libraries rose to the challenge of providing remote services only to our diverse types of users. The Libraries mandate is to serve all of campus. Therefore, our users come from a wide variety disciplines, including scholars in the fields of chemistry, political science, medicine, education, engineering, and natural resources, as well as scientific researchers, historians, journalists, health care providers, literary scholars, and many more.

Some users were relatively unaffected by the shift to having access to e-services only, while we know that users in some disciplines were greatly handicapped by the lack of access to print materials. We made our best efforts to meet the information needs of all of you by tapping into the national interlibrary loan network and document delivery as needed.

The Libraries Spring Report provides a summary of activities over the last semester, and poses questions that we’ll need to address as we look to the future.  Funding reductions will force changes in how we structure our collections, spaces and services. We need to hear from our academic community in an inclusive way, and we will need to structure a process to facilitate that.

I hope you find the report to be a quick and useful way to discover how the Libraries responded to the needs of the academic community over the Spring semester. The report includes a link for your comments and questions. Please send us those by June 30.

Best wishes for the summer ahead!

Deb Ward was appointed interim vice provost for libraries and university librarian in fall 2019. Ward has been the director of the MU health sciences libraries, which includes the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library and the Zalk Veterinary Medical Library, for over 20 years. In 2016, she also became the associate university librarian for specialized libraries. Ward has been active regional and national library organizations. Ward was a co-creator of the Missouri AHEC Digital Library, an information service for health care providers in the state of Missouri, created in partnership with the Mid-Missouri Area Health Education Center. In addition, she has been the principal investigator for the Missouri coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine since 2002. She is a partner with three other campus collaborators in the three-year project “Librarians as Catalysts for Healthy Communities,” funded by the Institute of Library and Museum Services. Previously, Ward held a number of administrative appointments at three other academic health sciences libraries. She earned a bachelor of arts in German and a master of arts in education from Eastern Kentucky University. She also earned a master of library science from the University of Kentucky.