With the University in between semesters, the libraries’ spaces kind of feel like secluded ponds. There’s a calm to them that is wonderfully peaceful or a little disquieting, depending on the energy and environment you’re looking for. I note this relative calm because of how it contrasts to my world of late.

First, on a personal note, my family recently moved to Rochester. I’m sure I don’t have to go into the details associated with the frenzy of moving. That being acknowledged, it all went well. Our movers grabbed everything that wasn't nailed down, which gave birth to a twist on an old idiom: “everything but closet doors,” as one was mistakenly taken and moved with our things.

I’ve also been doing a lot of traveling, which is its own kind of frenzy, but I have no complaints. It’s been great. I recently visited California, Chicago, and New York City, and I was continually amazed people had made time in their busy lives, during a challenging time, to meet with me about the libraries. It’s a tremendous compliment to our organization, but it’s also indicative of how passionate they are about Rochester and the libraries. These are important conversations for me. Learning about our friends’ passions, history, and hopes for the libraries’ future informs my decision-making and ensures those decisions not only take the perspectives of faculty and staff into consideration, but also those of the broader libraries community.

Additionally, a few weeks ago, for the first time in more than two years, we had our first on site/hybrid Library National Council meeting. We spent time talking about the libraries’ accomplishments, our aspirations, and discussing plans for Meliora Weekend. 

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I have a much better sense of who the libraries are culturally and organizationally. I owe this to my immersion in Rochester’s alumni network, the River Campus Libraries Advisory Committee, and the Library National Council. I always leave meetings feeling more energized than I was going into them.

I’m not always racing around. During the remaining “quiet” weeks at the libraries, stop by if you’re on the River Campus. I’m always interested in a conversation that will help me better know the University and its community and how the libraries can serve both.

Kevin Garewal
Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean
University of Rochester Libraries