“When you see where you want to go, you try to find a person who can get you there. We wanted to win a national championship in the library arena, and Rick Luce was the sort of ‘coach’ who would take us there,” Droegemeier said. “Sul Lee was a tremendous leader, and as we looked at going in a new direction for the future, we needed someone who would be involved in major digital access for scholars.
“We have our sights set on becoming the national library for digital resources, and without him, we couldn’t do it.”
Few library experts are more keenly involved in the digital renaissance than Luce.
“This is an inordinately exciting time to be involved in libraries. I would argue perhaps no time would rival this in terms of excitement and opportunity since the invention of the printing press because we are undergoing such fundamental changes with digitization, changing social norms and changing users,” Luce said.
Since Luce’s arrival last summer, his formation of goals and initiatives currently being set in motion cover a broad range of concerns for meeting needs and adapting to rapidly changing standards.
Luce said his core strategic plan will focus on four major pillars for students’ interaction with the library: discovery tools and virtual experience enabling the process of repurposing information, physical experience inside the library that enables learning, engaging the library more actively with the university’s scientific research and expanding alternative or digital scholarly publication opportunities for students and faculty.
“All of us have different learning modalities or environments ideal for taking in information ... sometimes it’s quiet seclusion, sometimes it’s an engaging brainstorming session of students collaborating,” Luce said. “We ought to be able to accommodate all of those learning modalities here in the library.