The [book] end of an era

McNichols Campus Library has witnessed many changes over the years.

But one of its biggest ones will come next month when Margaret Auer, dean of university libraries and instruction technology, retires.

Auer has worked on the McNichols campus for more than 54 years and has served as a dean for 34 and a half of those.

“I used to be a student here,” she said. “So when I became dean, I made it a mission to make the library more student-centered than I remembered it.”

She has been part of a great many changes, from bringing the Student Success Center and the Café a la Carte into the building to transitioning from print to online resources.

The café has been popular with students.

“When I was a student and came to the library to study, I just always remembered wanting a cup of coffee,” she said. “And now students can have that.”

The computers on the first floor have also made the library more friendly for students because now they can go there instead of to a computer lab.

Not only has Auer and the library staff worked on bringing things into the library but also expanding the library into not only a study center but also a social center.

“That’s why we have the computers and the big round tables on the first floor, so students can come with their friends or classmates and study,” she said.

The first floor is what some students call the talking floor. The second is the quiet floor and the third houses the Student Success Center and the Instructional Design Studio, which works with faculty and the Blackboard site.

Senior Tinesha Allen has her work-study job in the McNichols library.

She works at the front desk and doesn’t spend much time at the library unless she’s on the job.

“I don’t usually come to the library to study, but if I do then I go to the quiet floor,” she said.

During her time at UDM, she said one of her favorite things about the library is the café.

What else has been improved?

Associate Dean for Public Services George Libbey noted a few things, including physical changes like repairs and new windows.

Libbey has been at the library for twenty years and has also seen major changes in students over the past few years.

“I think it’s just a nicer environment and overall more friendly for students,” he said. “The first floor used to have a lot of stacks of books and we moved a lot of that stuff into other parts of the library so it’s more open for everyone.”

To say the least, the McNichols Campus Library changes have been made for the better but the biggest one is yet to come.

On Feb. 16, Margaret Auer will be departing UDM.

The new dean is Jennifer Dean, current director of the Sienna Heights University Library.

Auer said she’s happy with the selection and is ready for a change.

“I’ve been here for a long, long time so it’s sad of course,” she said. “But it’s time for Margaret to have her time. And I met the new dean and she’s nice, so I think it’ll be okay.”