Library dean to step down this spring

Ryan Stainbrook

After nearly 40 years of being in the library business, University Library Dean Mark Weber will retire this spring.

“I think there are two important skills you need to know in this profession,” Weber said. “One, knowing which job is for you and two, knowing it’s time to move on. I have over 30 years in the public pension system; it seemed like a good time to pass the torch.”

Weber has been the dean of the library since 2001 and has been a part of many different additions to the library over the past nine years.

“(Becoming dean) was never a goal,” Weber said. “I think I was just in the right place at the right time.”

Weber began working for the Kent State Library in 1991 and over the next eight years worked his way up to assistant dean of the library.

“The dean then got promoted and I was placed as interim dean,” Weber said. “After that I applied for the position and got it.”

In his years at Kent State, Weber has been a part of many positive changes that have been a part of the library, including the development of the first floor information commons, which holds things like the quiet study area and the student multimedia studio.

“It was something that was developed before I got the dean position,” Weber said. “It was still really nice to see something that we had been working on get done.”

Weber was also dean when the Kent State faculty developed Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS), which is an instrument used all over the nation to asses student information literacy.

“That was all the faculty,” Weber said. “I’ve always been proud of the fact that SLIS started here at Kent State.”

During his time here, Weber has seen many different things, but the passion of the Kent State students is something he will always remember. One event he remembers in particular happened during the 30th anniversary of May 4.

“We had a series of May 4 speakers on the 12th floor reading room,” Weber said. “We had 150 people show up in a room that fits 35-50.”

Weber said he was shocked at how many students came to see the speakers because the event happened 30 years ago.

Weber also mentioned that this showed him how important May 4 was to Kent State history.

Besides being dean of the library, Weber has also been the faculty adviser of the Kent State Free Thinkers.

“I’m really going to miss the students,” Weber said. “I’ve always enjoyed being the faculty advisor for the Kent State Free Thinkers.”

Weber will not only miss students, he also mentioned that working with his staff will be one of the things he will miss the most.

“I work with a great group of people, “Weber said. “The faculty here are great, the best you could ask for.

Although Weber is retiring, he doesn’t plan to stop helping others. During his retirement, he plans to travel to Colombia to work with the “Witness for Peace” group to help the less fortunate. He won’t be leaving Kent State entirely either as he plans to teach one history course.

During his years in the teaching profession, Weber has learned many things, but he feels students and faculty need to learn how important they really are to Kent State.

“A strong undergrad student body is the key to Kent State’s success,” Weber said. “We’re not educating students for a job, craft or a profession. We’re educating them to be citizens with a firm understanding of the American Civic Tradition. We should always ask ourselves how well we are doing this.”

Contact library and information science reporter Ryan Stainbrook at [email protected].