In January, Yolanda Cooper began her new role as Emory's University Librarian, a recently redefined position in the Library and Information Technology Services organization.
In this Q&A, she shares some of her initial impressions and describes how she first became interested in joining the Emory library community.
Cooper oversees areas of services, content, scholarly communications, external affairs and library administration, as well as the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). Her responsibilities include outlining ways in which library services, digital scholarship and informational technology can better support Emory's mission and vision.
She reports to Rich Mendola, enterprise CIO and senior vice provost of library services and digital scholarship. Mendola implemented an organizational restructuring last year that has combined Emory's library and information technology organizations, which reflects the increasingly important relationship between digital technologies and research libraries.
Cooper came to Emory from the University of Miami, where she most recently served as acting dean and university librarian. She brings 25 years of administrative experience in university libraries across five library systems.
When did you first become familiar with Emory and its libraries?
In 2004 I made my first of many visits to Atlanta and the Emory campus and one that would pique my interest in Emory for years to come. During this time I spent two weeks on the Emory campus participating as a fellow in the FRYE Institute. The Institute is built to engage and challenge leaders who seek to further develop their skills for the benefit of higher education, and Atlanta and the Emory campus were the appropriate settings for this type of endeavor. As part of the program, we toured the campus and attended an event in the Libraries. Both left lasting impressions of innovative teaching and learning spaces, the presence of distinguished faculty, an exceptional student body, and a library with world-renowned collections and cultural treasures.
What made you interested in coming to work at Emory?
Since 2004 I've returned many times for conferences, meetings and personal travel. On a development stewardship trip just two years ago, I specifically added a visit to the Library to view firsthand its development of new models in digital scholarship and services focused on teaching with technology. Over the years I have continued to follow Emory's achievements as an organizational benchmark and an aspirational peer. It was monitoring this type of activity that encouraged my continued interest in the University and the community.
What are your impressions since arriving in January?
As I look back over the past few weeks, my impressions of Emory continue to evolve as I learn more about the University, the campus environment and the library. The possibilities are endless and the environment exciting. Every meeting brings to my attention progress at its best with the upgrade of facilities such as the expansion of the Center for Digital Scholarship and MARBL, and new services for faculty with the addition of the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence to the Woodruff Library. Emory University is a campus forging new relationships and collaborations internally, with local institutions, and with the surrounding community. It's a university globally aware of the changing landscape of higher education seeking to enrich the university community in alignment with future strategic directions and goals.
There are many people yet to meet and discoveries to be made, and I look forward to each kernel of knowledge. The future is bright indeed!
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