New Director of University Libraries: Paul Glassman
Early this semester, YU hired Paul Glassman as the new Director of University Libraries. He comes to the YU libraries from Felician University in Bergen County, New Jersey, where he served as Director of Library Services and as an associate professor.
Although he has just been assigned this new position, Glassman is hardly new to the University, with a fairly long standing affiliation on campus teaching architectural history and design since 1994. Glassman has a dual background in professional architecture and academic librarianship, and is “thrilled to now be able to do both in one place.” Glassman's appointment follows a search that began with the retirement of the Libraries' director of the past 30 years, Pearl Berger.
Glassman joins the YU libraries at a pivotal time as the renovation of the Gottesman Library building nears completion which will transform the feeling and environment of the library to a much more brighter, lighter, and transparent one. This transformation, from the viewpoint of Glassman as an architectural historian, will do a great job of preserving the original design’s essence while adapting it to the 21st century. Glassman now has a large role in making sure that the renovations stay on track and the relaunching goes smoothly. He maintains that the library will be fully up and running by the start of the next semester, although the second and fourth floor will be completed before that.
Mr. Glassman sees his role as Director of University Libraries as revitalizing the place of library services, both in the library itself and in the classroom. He intends to do this by creating a sense of openness and approachability through developing relationships with both faculty and students.
As director, he is responsible for making sure that the facility and environment is preserved as a vigorous, vibrant one in which both teaching and learning can take place. Glassman asserted, however, that this is not an issue for YU students because they are very active library users, who respects the institution’s importance. He continued by describing the Yeshiva community as one in which the value of books and study is readily apparent, and this is something that is greatly appreciated by the library staff.
Glassman stated that one of the most remarkable things at YU is the “Special Collections,” which are the rare books and manuscripts housed on the 4th floor of the Gottesman Library. According to Glassman, “they are exceptionally fine,” and he would like them to be better known among the students. The professional staff that work with them are highly skilled and talented. Moreover, these professionals have done a wonderful job digitizing the collection, allowing the riches of these materials to be disseminated globally.
When addressing the drastic changes going on in terms of the dissemination of knowledge and information, Glassman acknowledged that the current generation of college students is experiencing an irreversible transformation from print media to that of electronic media. Moreover, many students arrive on campus with misconceptions that information is always available instantaneously. The notion of waiting or researching for something is becoming quite foreign to today’s college population. Glassman and his staff are doing their best to familiarize themselves with the situation, and be as sensitive as they can to that expectation. In an attempt to remedy this modern approach to information gathering, there is now 24-hour access to all of the available texts via online resources, even when the library is closed.
With over forty staff members and three libraries at two locations under his auspices, he has quite a job ahead, but with patience and elegance Glassman will see nothing but success in the future.