Adapting to the Times

Very nice article about Jeff Trzeciak in the McMaster University newspaper that highlights his student-centered focus for the university libraries. The initiatives identified align well with current trends in academic libraries:

In close collaboration with students and the mcmaster Students Union (msu), he has worked to maintain the focus on the student experience with every undertaking. “I am proud of the fact that we have been so student-focused,” he said of the recent developments to the libraries, explaining that much of those changes have been in response to student requests. A strong student-body push for 24-hour library space during the exam period came as msu president, Matthew Dillon-Leitch kept study space at the top of his agenda. Trzeciak explained that such an effort on behalf of students was the primary driving force behind the funding the mcmaster Libraries received from the administration to proceed with the initiative.

Thode library is now available 24/7 during the exam period. Trzeciak explained that with the renovations to Mills and Thode libraries, the two libraries have become the new “hotspots” and are attracting a more diverse array of students. Libraries are losing their subject focus and remain prime locations for group as well as individual work through the diverse study spaces available. In 2007, after the construction of the Mills Learning Commons, the mcmaster libraries received the Rudy Heinzl Award of Excellence, which was a result of student nomination. The Mills Learning Commons remains a place for collaborative work, while within the same building quiet study space remains available. Mcmaster Libraries have also been acknowledged by other universities for its user-focused approach and innovative technologies, which include the digitization of numerous library collections. In 2008, the University’s Libraries received the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award on behalf of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Mcmaster University was the first Canadian university recipient, noted Trzeciak.


A library should be an extension of the classroom,” said Trzeciak.

The mcmaster libraries have  also been a close partner with faculties in the development of new programs and the support of others, he explained. The libraries played a key role in the development of the Integrated Science program, and worked in partnership with the Department of Arts and Science to support some of their classroom projects. The next step for mcmaster University’s libraries is to build on the student-centered efforts, noted Trzeciak, explaining that student engagement is critical to maintaining past efforts. For the first time, the University will be hosting an open review of the libraries on March 26 and 27 in Convocation Hall. Students and faculty are strongly encouraged to attend and voice their views. “I owe Mac in a lot of ways,” said Trzeciak, crediting his time at mcmaster with the expertise that made him an ideal candidate for his new position. Trzeciak will end his term with mcmaster on June 30 to join Washington University, which ranks within the top 15 universities in the United States, just under many world renowned Ivy League schools. It is a research-oriented, private university with a 50-50 ratio of graduate to undergraduate students. It is unknown at this time who will be taking over as University Librarian. A candidate search is likely to begin soon. As a native of Dayton, Ohio, Trzeciak expressed, “I will be going home in a lot of ways.”

Wishing Jeff the very best for his new position!