Next year, stressed out students trudging to the library to study for final exams could encounter stress-free alternatives including yoga, chair massages, and therapy dogs. These stress-relief programs are just one thing Kevin Mulroy, the new A.J. McFadden Dean of Honnold/Mudd Library, has on his agenda.
Mulroy, currently the associate university librarian for academic services at University of California, Los Angeles, said he would draw on his experience at UCLA to get students more involved with the consortium library.
Apart from the stress-relief programs, Mulroy said he would like to encourage undergraduate students to interact more with special collections and primary sources, including curating exhibits themselves.
“It’s all part of the idea of the library being a center,” he said.
Mulroy will begin his job on June 15 as the first dean of the library under the new model of joint governance.
“I’ve always had the greatest respect for the Claremont Colleges,” Mulroy said. “The idea of being head of a library for seven extraordinary institutions … It’s an extraordinary opportunity.”
The Claremont University Consortium used to oversee the library. Under the new model, the five undergraduate colleges, Claremont Graduate University (CGU), and Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences share oversight, with CGU taking the lead in day-to-day operations, CGU President Deborah Freund said.
This is the first time since 2008 the library has had a permanent, experienced leader, said Jason Price, the library’s interim director.
“We’re really looking forward to his leadership and really helping us to define the direction that we should be going in and go there,” he said.
“It’s just great to have focused, new leadership,” said Char Booth, the instruction services manager and e-learning librarian at Honnold/Mudd. She said that she is hoping to see Mulroy continue to expand the library’s focus on student experiences.
Freund said that members of the search committee were impressed by the range of Mulroy’s experience.
In addition to his position at UCLA, he worked at the University of Southern California, the Autry National Center, and the Getty Research Institute.
“Kevin Mulroy also is a scholar,” Freund said.
Of the four finalists who came to campus, she said, he was the only one with a Ph.D., which he holds in American studies, and he has published two books on relations between African-Americans and American Indians.
“I think as we move into the digital age, faculty want to be certain that a new dean understands not only the collection needs for their teaching in the classroom, but also their research needs, and have somebody who understands well what they do so that we don’t move toward the digital age in a way that makes some types of scholarship impossible or books inaccessible,” Freund said.
She added, “He’s somebody who’s had experience with the world of books and with the digital world, and it’s somebody like that who can bridge the divide.”
“They’re sad to see him go at UCLA and we’re glad to get him,” Booth said.