In a memo sent to the university community Thursday, July 26, Provost and Executive Vice President Douglas Wartzok announced Dean Laura Probst is stepping down from her position at the university libraries. Professor Thomas Breslin has been appointed interim dean.
Dean Laura Probst has informed me that after leading the FIU libraries for five years, she is stepping down to pursue other opportunities. She will continue in her position through the end of August.
I want to thank Dean Probst for her service. She led the libraries through difficult times. Although we tried to shield the libraries from major impacts of the budget cuts, they nonetheless, like the rest of the university, had to do more with less. These five years have also been a time of significant change in how information is stored and accessed and we have benefited from someone who kept FIU abreast of these changes. It has also been a time of unparalleled change within library organization in the State University System with the legislatively dictated merger of the Florida Center for Library Automation and the College Center for Library Automation. Dean Probst has taken a statewide leadership role that has protected the interests of FIU libraries during this transition process while fostering closer collaboration with libraries in the college system. She currently serves as President of the Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN).
During Dean Probst’s tenure the MMC and BBC libraries have been more effectively integrated and an important donation was received for naming the Glenn Hubert Library at BBC. The Digital Library of the Caribbean has grown and achieved particular prominence in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Digital library initiatives have expanded including the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation program in collaboration with the University Graduate School and the expansion of access to the digital representations of the Wolfsonian and Frost collections. Library study and learning spaces have been improved at both the MMC and BBC libraries as well as at the Engineering Center.
Important additions to our special collections include:
· Enrique Hurtado Genealogy Collection
· William Straight Collection of Florida Medical History
· Carmen Petsoules Mary Brickell Collection
· Marvin Dunn Collection of Florida and Miami African-American History
· Nicolas Quintana Architecture Collection
· Books, photographs, and research materials from Bernard Diederich documenting recent history of the Caribbean
· Cuban books and memorabilia from Elena Kurstin
I have asked Professor Thomas A. Breslin to serve as Interim Dean of University Libraries. Professor Breslin has a longstanding relationship with our libraries having used them extensively in his research for four books, actively supported them both as Vice President for Research, when he was directly involved in planning the physical expansion of the library and the establishment of the GIS Center in the library, as Chair of the Faculty Senate for four years, and as a member of the Board of Trustees charged with fiscal oversight and preservation of core university operations. Professor Breslin’s experience in statewide faculty governance and long observation of state politics make him an ideal Interim Dean to continue the protection of FIU libraries’ interests in a changing political climate.
I have asked Dean Kenneth Furton to chair a national search that will begin immediately.
— Provost and Executive Vice President Douglas Wartzok