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Illuminant & Annual Report | 2020

The Illuminant is a production of the Miami University Libraries' Office of Strategic Communications.

From the Dean

Dean Jerome Conley poses for a portrait in front of artworkIn my nearly 30-year long career at Miami University, I never once imagined either the immense challenges or remarkable resilience I witnessed this past year.

We shut down our library buildings and sent our staff home with laptops and extra monitors, learning and embracing an entirely new way of working. When our community lost access to our physical collections resources, we created new services and processes overnight to reconnect them with the materials they needed to continue Miami’s scholarly work. Over video meetings, email, and shared documents, we finalized, launched, and began implementing a fully-realized strategic plan.

Painstakingly, we planned and prepared for and then successfully enacted the safe reopening of our buildings and adapted in-person services.

This community has faced this uniquely challenging year with determination, professionalism, grace, and ingenuity. I have never been more proud to count myself among our University Libraries community — or more grateful to those who support it.

Now, as we look toward a new academic year and the promise of beginning a return to normalcy, I suspect “normal” may have forever changed. I believe we will bring with us the lessons we have learned — on how to serve an ever-increasingly digital community through innovation; on flexible, dynamic work and learning environments; and on nimbly adapting our services to respond to the needs of the present while anticipating the future.

As the current caretakers of this centuries-old enterprise, the responsibility to ensure our university library system’s continued strength and relevancy rests on our shoulders. The actions we take now — how we pursue our priorities and shape our services — strive toward that goal in a way that rings true to our mission and values. Our strategic plan is our roadmap to this vision. It is our catalyst for transformative and purpose-driven action.

The story of the Miami University 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.


Love and Honor,

Jerome Conley
Dean & University Librarian