Dean of Libraries
I begin my contribution to the spring newsletter on a sad note of the passing of long-serving
staff member of UW Libraries, Matt Sprinkle, on December 26th, just weeks after retiring. He began employment at UW Libraries in April 2001, serving
primarily in Technical Services and then in Collection Development. Matt completed
an M.A. and then a Master of Library Science in 2010. He brought much thoughtfulness
and creativity to his work at the University. He added joy and talent to many Libraries'
social events, including musical performances of his home-grown Rock and Roll band.
Matt is greatly missed by his colleagues at UW Libraries.
UW Libraries was thrilled in early January as the first volume of the University of Wyoming Press was published under the auspices of the University Press of Colorado. Our “imprint”
appears alongside the collection of scholarly monographs of the University Press of
Colorado, including Utah State University Press and the University of Alaska Press.
For the first time, the University of Wyoming joins the world of University presses
to advance knowledge and scholarship, focusing on particular interests in our region
of the Rocky Mountains and northern plains. As this initiative unfolds, UW Libraries
underwrites the costs of supporting this exciting venture that advances the new strategic
vision and plan of the University of Wyoming in “raising UW’s scholarly capacity and profile nationally and internationally.”
The book, The Art and Life of Merritt Dana Houghton in the Northern Rockies, 1878 – 1919 by
Michael A. Amundson presents documentation of the life and development of communities throughout Wyoming,
Montana, Idaho, and Washington in their formative years. Replete with sketches, photographs,
and text, the volume shows our region's landscape, wildlife, and economic opportunities
during its formative years. For those reading this from our e-newsletter, we’re delighted to offer 40% off with code AMUN23 (offer expires 4/30/23). Click here to order the book and find out more information.
On another front, UW Libraries has begun a “non-fungible token” (NFT) project in partnership
with the University of Wyoming Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation, the University
of California-Santa Barbara, the University of Notre Dame and Yale University, along
with Skilltype (a commercial software company based in Louisiana), to explore the possibilities of
marketing digital documents and images in our special collections within the cryptocurrency
environment. This can potentially create a funding line previously unavailable to
academic libraries. Updates on this project will be provided in the coming months.
Partnering with the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, the Department of English, and several others, UW Libraries helped bring to campus
the noted scholar, educator, and social activist Angela Davis for a public lecture
on March 21st, drawing over 1,000 attendees. Her emphasis of building communities in the struggle
for economic, racial, and gender justice has been transformative. Our partnership
for this event further supports the fine work of UW Libraries’ standing on Diversity,
Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.
In January, the acclaimed author, Stephen Markley, published The Deluge, his second major novel. Covering topics of climate change and dystopian consequences,
Markley’s epic traces the lives of a stunning array of characters in “polyphonic narration,
silken sentences and elaborate world-building.” (NYT Book Review). Markley is scheduled to come to campus the last week of September for University
and public talks and presentations. Details are to be announced in due course. This
program is in partnership with the Honors College.
On a personal note, I plan to retire this August after seven full years at UW as Dean
of Libraries and over 35 years in the library field, primarily in senior administration.
Working at UW has been a joy, where I’ve experienced amazing opportunities with our
remarkable team at UW Libraries, developing good collegial relationships with the
University deans, and serving under talented and visionary University leaders. It
has been especially invigorating to explore and help develop new technologies for
our libraries and rethink exciting ways to deliver library programs, resources, and
services to the University and all residents of Wyoming. I believe UW Libraries is
well-positioned to embrace the challenges and opportunities of the future under the
leadership of Interim Dean of Libraries Cass Kvenild and our fantastic team of librarians,
staff, and student workers.
Dean Ivan Gaetz