In this post, we introduce W&M Libraries' new associate dean for collections and content services, Laura Morales!
Name: Laura Morales
Title: Associate Dean for Collections and Content Services
How long have you been with W&M Libraries?
I first worked for the W&M Libraries as a student during my junior year. I’ve worked in multiple libraries over the years but returned to W&M in May 2017, initially in the role of Systems & Discovery Librarian. I then transitioned to the Head of Systems &Discovery in 2018, before taking on this new role.
What do you do in your new role?
I will oversee the Content Services department, which assesses and acquires materials for the library’s general collections (both print and electronic) as well as providing metadata services, digitization, and managing discovery tools and systems. We’re essentially the behind-the-scenes support for W&M Libraries. Although we don’t have a public face, all our work is focused on the needs of our users, whether they are researchers, students, or other library staff.
What inspired you to pursue a career in library sciences?
Getting a position as a circulation assistant at Swem! What started as a job to help pay for textbooks ended up being a turning point in my life as I was inspired to pursue a career in libraries. I’ve ended up working in several types of libraries over my career so far and in almost every department. All libraries, whether they are public, academic, special, etc. are committed to serving their users and promoting a culture of continual learning, which is what pulled me in so many years ago.
What is your vision for W&M Libraries collections and resources?
Our collections need to be both strong and deep to sustain the needs of W&M as an R2 doctoral as well as supporting our strong liberal arts undergraduate program. We are seeing rapid changes, with new formats and new publishing and purchasing models, which brings both challenges and opportunities. There is also a growing acknowledgment that previous collection strategies in libraries excluded many voices, and we are now working towards making our collections representative, diverse, and accessible.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I read and collect graphic novels, which has led to a secondary hobby of continually installing new bookshelves throughout my house as each previous one gets filled. I grew up in a house filled with all kinds of books, so for me it makes a space feel like home.