For me, to be asked to write this letter for the Council of California Community Colleges Chief Librarians is a great honor. Not because what I have to say is so revolutionary, or necessarily thought provoking, but rather this opportunity gave me a reason to stop and reflect upon our mission and the concept of service. These ideals have been at the forefront of my career, as I am certain it has been or is for many of you. We, in this profession are, and should always be, looking at ways to advance these principles. As you know, this can be a difficult task and one for which there is not always a clear path to the future.
Community service in our country has a long and distinguished history, and perhaps nowhere is that sense of service better represented than within the library system of our nation and colleges. In 1731, Benjamin Franklin and the members of the Junto (an American intellectual and political debate club), signed the Articles of Agreement that would be a core tenant of the Library Company of Philadelphia, the first lending library. This library, with further refinement, would be the foundation for our current system of information sharing. Arguably, Franklin understood that on the basic level, true advancement and service towards humankind begins with the sharing of information. Thus providing the building the building blocks of self-improvement, academic success, and life-long learning.
Every day, I walk past our library at Clovis Community College and it's always brewing with activity. On any given day, you see students at the front desk asking for help with accessing our online data bases, students in our study rooms preparing for exams, or slowly making their way through the stacks, seeking answers to their own life’s questions. The library always bring a smile to my face for I know that the teaching in the classroom is being supported and nourished by our librarians’ teaching in this very setting. Serving our students. Helping them to succeed. Isn’t that our most basic mission, service to our students? With support systems in place such as our libraries, we can ensure that we fulfill that mission and ensure the continued success of our students.
With student success at the forefront of everything we do, libraries are more than brick-and-mortar buildings. Our libraries provide critical and continual support for our students and community throughout their academic journey, but long afterwards as well. We will always need our libraries and they will continue to be at the heart of student success. The question for all of us, what is the next step and how to we continue to value the services our libraries provide?
Vice President of Instruction & Student Services, Clovis Community College
President, California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers