New face on campus

Dean of university libraries sets his technological goals into motion.

When Arthur Hafner accepted the position as Ball State's dean of university libraries, his goal was to strengthen and support students in their efforts to achieve academic success.

Two weeks have pasted since he started his job on Nov. 4, and Hafner said he is still adjusting to the university as he begins to set into motion may of the goals he has for the libraries on campus.

"We need to expand outreach to students, and make the library even more user friendly," the Fort Wayne native explained. "We need to make sure we have the kinds of resources that really help students in their classes."

As Hafner began to make inquiries about the open position at Ball State last year, he found that he was treated with special care by the administration -- something he said is important in a working environment.

"I was impressed with the way they answered questions," Hafner said of the receptionist he first spoke to. "(I thought) if the people at Ball State are as nice as her, then that's good."

Hafner, who served as the professor and dean of university libraries at Seton Hall University for the past six years, said upon his first visit to Ball State over the summer, the library was the first building he saw -- and what he saw he liked.

"The building is spacious, and the collection is substantial and broad," Hafner said of Bracken Library.

Although he holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Purdue University, a master's in mathematics and doctorate in library science from the University of Minnesota and a master's of business administration from Seton Hall, Hafner said he sees himself as a librarian.

With that role in mind, Hafner's past experiences have proven his dedication to helping students make use of technology as he works hard to reach out to the academic community. While at Seton Hall, Hafner oversaw the replacement of the library's outdated information system and worked to migrate its CD/ROM-based academic resources to Web-based versions.

And although librarians do enjoy reading, Hafner said that fact alone is not what makes them a good librarian. Librarians enjoy working with and helping people in the intellectual environment of the library, committed to helping students and faculty, he said.

"It's a profession concerned with the organization and dissemination of information," Hafner said.

Hafner has outlined the following as his plans for Ball State's university libraries:

-To expand the school's outreach to help students use library resources for their scholarly achievement.

-To expand the availability of electronic resources for "a research library on your desktop" through the use of technology.

-To expand document delivery, interlibrary loan and Internet-facilitated gateway access to global collections of information resources.

-To look for ways to make the university libraries more friendly and accessible for use.

-To work in close partnership with classroom faculty to help them in their use of library collections for classroom instruction and research.

Hafner said he also sees himself as an administrator and a scholar and intends to research and discover the libraries' strongest sections of distribution to make books that are often times checked out more accessible to students.

"I like to verify everything, try to make all decisions based on data," Hafner said. "Then I'd like to work with the academic deans and provost to find out what the library can do and all it could do."


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...