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A Letter from the Dean - 2023

I often describe the hallmarks of libraries as falling into three categories: places, collections and expert services. This year WVU Libraries has made advances in all three categories. 

Our places, of course, remain a spot for students to study — whether that is solo or in groups. But they are also important community spaces for celebration, discovery and remembering the history of our campus and region. We have done some interesting work on a number of our library spaces in our Downtown and Evansdale libraries, which you can read about in our Library Spaces article.

Dean Karen Diaz

Dean Karen Diaz at the Downtown Library Milano Reading Room

Our second unveiling in the Inclusive Portrait Project series brought athletic fans and community members together to celebrate Kittie Blakemore, WVU’s first women’s basketball coach and Title IX champion. Her portrait now enhances our Robinson Reading Room as inspiration for current and future students, and her papers reside in the West Virginia and Regional History Center for future researchers to discover how her accomplishments affected women’s sports.  

Our University and our donors provide us with significant dollars to bring the latest published scholarship to campus. In FY 2022 we spent $7.3 million on scholarship sold to us by publishers. But we also continue to collect unique materials that no other library in the world has. This year we were excited to celebrate the opening of the Rahall Congressional Archives House. Former West Virginia Congressman Nick Joe Rahall II donated his papers to WVU Libraries and the WVRHC in 2015. These materials are important to future generations to understand how Congress and our democratic system work. 

Our expertise was greatly enhanced this year by bringing the Humanities Center under the umbrella of the Libraries. While we have provided office space for the director since the inception of the Center, the reorganization has created better integration and partnership. Center Director Renee Nicholson has brought expertise for collaborating across campus to the Libraries, and the Libraries have provided administrative and collegial support. We have also been excited to bring new librarians and staff into our ranks who are contributing to student and faculty success. 

It has been an exciting year, and I’m grateful you are here to learn more about it! 

Karen Diaz

Dean of Libraries