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Dean of Libraries prepares to step down, leaves influence on university

In eight years, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian Suzanne Thorin’s influence has extended beyond the walls of E.S. Bird Library.

Since 2005, Thorin has worked to develop library resources through funding and renovation projects. She will be leaving her position June 30.

“I’ve done as much as I can, and after you’ve been in one position for a while, it’s often time for a change,” Thorin said. She is also an adjunct professor for the School of Information Studies.

Before she became the dean of libraries, Thorin said the library was underfunded. Under her leadership, Thorin said the university budget for the library has grown by $1.2 million. Generating funds for the library was a difficult process, she said, but it served as a great start for future library development.

Her proudest accomplishment during her time as dean, she said, was the resurrection of the Belfour Audio Archive and construction of the 20,000-square-foot South Campus library storage facility next to the Hawkins Building on Jamesville Avenue.

“I’m also proud to say that the renovations are virtually complete to the Carnegie Library Reading Room,” she added. “For the first time in years, students will have a grand Reading Room to enjoy.”

Despite the numerous improvements to library services during her tenure, Thorin said there is still plenty of work to do, specifically regarding renovations to Bird.

“I would like to see the master plan that we put together for Bird Library implemented,” she said. ““I’m disappointed because there is much work to be done including fixing the bad lighting, updating furniture and using spaces more efficiently.”

Before her time at SU, Thorin served as an associate professor of music at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania; an associate librarian and chief of staff at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.; and dean of university libraries at Indiana University-Bloomington, according to the SU Library website.

With the change of leadership, Thorin said she is ready to move on to something else.

“I have a house in Maine near Bowdoin College where I plan on doing some writing, reading and exploring,” she said. “I’m looking forward to not being in the normal daily grind.”

K. Matthew Dames will step in as interim dean-designate of university libraries, according to a March 5 press release. Dames is an SU graduate and the first African-American to earn a doctorate from the iSchool.

Thorin named Dames the director of the library’s copyright and information policy office back in December, and said he would do well in his new role.

Said Thorin: “Kevin is a fabulous person and very intuitive about people. He has been a part of the management team for quite awhile and will serve the library very well.”

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