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From the Dean

Photo of Jerome Conley, Dean of University Libraries
Jerome Conley,
Dean of University Libraries
Before it had a campus, Miami University had a library.

Among the first donations to a newly-founded Miami University were hundreds of valuable books, forming the beginning of Miami’s library.

They were accepted eagerly: books, especially academic volumes, were hard to come by and didn’t come cheap.

That initial collection of books gave the first Miamians the resources they needed to learn, discover, and grow. Any student who entered the library — no matter their family background, field of study, or financial resources — could access this collection of knowledge. The library leveled the playing field.

Our library system may have changed immeasurably over Miami’s more than 200-year history, but our fundamental purpose has not.

The resource needs of today look different: our scholars require vast datasets and laser-focused journals, 15th-century manuscripts and subscriptions to online newspapers. Their scholarship demands textbooks, augmented-reality anatomy apps, graphic novels, university records, and engineering reference databases. The tools for scholarship — and to acquire the skills and literacies demanded by a modern world — include collaborative spaces, digitized archives, advanced computer software, virtual reality headsets, and 3D printers. And so we provide them, and we provide them to all.

Now, more than ever, the Libraries are an equalizer.

As the current caretakers of this centuries-old enterprise, the responsibility to ensure the continued strength and relevancy of our university library system rests on our shoulders. The actions we take now — how we define our priorities and shape our services — must strive toward that goal in a way that rings true to our mission and values. This strategic plan will serve as our roadmap.

The story of the Libraries is one written by innovators and visionaries, and by thoughtful caretakers with the wisdom of history. I’m honored to share the pen with you as we write the next chapter.

Our Foundation



We proactively connect our community with the resources and personalized guidance to empower discovery, creation, and success.



We will be the catalyst for growth and discovery for every scholar in our community.




You matter; you belong

We purposefully create a human connection with our entire scholarly community.
  • are approachable and friendly
  • create inviting and accessible environments
  • design inclusive systems
  • show empathy and actively listen


Always wonder; always learn

We passionately and humbly seek knowledge and understanding.
  • question our own assumptions
  • listen to understand
  • empower inquiry and discovery
  • cultivate an atmosphere of wonder


Find connections; forge partnerships

We reach across boundaries because we recognize the power of working together.
  • focus on results and embrace the expertise and assistance of others
  • seek knowledge even if it challenges our biases
  • mediate among disciplines
  • create space for others to share their perspectives


Boldly create; fearlessly innovate

We exceed the needs of the present and rise to the challenges of the future.
  • encourage creative solutions
  • adapt to new realities
  • take smart risks and learn from every failure
  • create new opportunities

Strategic plan for the 20-21 academic year


Develop talent, resources, and experiences to facilitate an inclusive community.

Professional development

Initiative: Implement a comprehensive development program at all levels of the organization with at least 50% employee participation.

  • Alea Henle
  • Donna Richardson
  • Rachel Makarowski


Initiative: Investigate, advocate, and implement flexible work environments and staff structures by July 30, 2021. While our focus will be on doing the research that will establish a foundation for long term change as reflected in our final recommendations, we will also look for opportunities to take action throughout the process.

  • Lindsay Miller
  • Jody Perkins
  • Kim Hoffman

Transform the Libraries’ environment and user-centered experience to anticipate evolving modes of learning and the actual resource needs of our community.

Virtual spaces & services

Initiative: Ensure cohesive experience between virtual and physical spaces by expanding and marketing virtual spaces and services to increase user touchpoints by 15%.

  • Elias Tzoc
  • Stan Brown
  • Ken Irwin
  • Alia Levar Wegner

Communicating services

Initiative: Create infrastructure in order to communicate our values and cultivate community by (1) assessing and analyzing user needs, (2) solidifying a brand for the libraries, and (3) creating a brand ambassador program.

  • Kevin Messner
  • Nick Kneer
  • Nate Floyd

Forge meaningful partnerships that foster affordability, ensure relevancy, and cultivate life-long connections.

Meaningful Partnerships

Initiative: Analyze and cultivate values-driven partnerships to support services by pursuing grants, donor funding, and investing in relationship building.

  • Bill Modrow
  • Carla Myers
  • Katie Gibson