New dean checks in
Library receives new director as massive program expands
Angela Rice, the new dean of the Jerry Falwell Library, has been tasked with carrying on the vision of her predecessors.
According to a Liberty University News Service article, Rice obtained her Master of Library Science through Syracuse University. Rice has teaching and small business experience, which provides her with a diverse set of skills. According to Rice, teaching showed her the value of learning and working with people, and entrepreneurship has helped with the pragmatic side of customer service and leadership.
“I began teaching nearly 30 years ago, and every day since has been in preparation for this opportunity,” Rice said. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime to serve in a world-class organization with an outstanding faculty and staff.”
Rice replaced the former dean Marcy Pride after she retired Sept. 30, 2014. According to Rice, she plans to continue implementing the vision of Pride and Pride’s predecessor, Carl Merat. The two previous deans helped pave the way for Rice and the current success of the library.
“It’s humbling and daunting, because I have so much respect for what is in place,” Rice said. “The prior deans constructed significant milestones that will guide this organization for years to come. I understand that one of my roles is to not impede the progress underway and the trajectory that the Library is on.”
“One of my biggest responsibilities is to be the facilitator to equip people with the tools and resources they need to continue moving forward,” Rice said. “There is tremendous vision and experience among the faculty and staff, and in many ways, (my role) is to foster an environment of vision so that people keep dreaming and creating.”
The vision, according to Rice, includes a focus on customer service and getting feedback from residential and online students on what they need and expect from a 21st century library. An example of something students asked for is the implementation of different quiet zones. The library has collaborative spaces, quiet spaces and deep quiet areas. According to Rice, students have indicated that they deeply appreciate a place of complete quiet for individual study.
According to Rice, her goals are to continue building partnerships and attracting more students to the library. She said she hopes to appeal to “super users,” a library term for students that are library fans and frequent consumers of library resources. Rice also strives to draw in students who are not typical library users by encouraging them to take advantage of the many services offered.
She also hopes to engage students who may be unable to visit the Library, such as online military students serving all over the world.
“There is a tremendous wealth of resources that is available for all types of customers: technologies such as the perceptive pixel tables and file sharing software, digital repositories of faculty and student scholarship, collaborative group study rooms, an interactive Curriculum Library, as well as traditional resources such as print resources and experienced faculty and staff,” Rice said.
“When these resources are combined with services such as chat research assistance or interlibrary loan, students have access to unlimited possibilities to discover and create new knowledge.”
“The Lord has richly blessed us with a variety of resources,” Rice said. “We have beautiful facilities. We have gifted faculty and staff who love our students and what they do, and we have the best student body of any university in the world. Liberty University is a miracle in progress, and we have the privilege to serve here during this part of its history.”
Glossner is a news reporter.