2016 News Releases
New leader to take helm of University’s historic libraries
Texas Woman's University's new dean of the Libraries Suzanne Sears. Photo by Michael Modecki
Experienced administrator to advance libraries’ extensive collections of women’s history and expand global access to academic research
Texas Woman’s University announced today (June 14) that its libraries in Denton, Dallas and Houston — which includes the largest collection of research material about Texas women — will be led by Suzanne Sears effective July 1. Sears, who was a key player in developing strategic plans for the University of North Texas library system, will expand the libraries’ community outreach and guide the strategic planning to meet the research and teaching needs of the university’s libraries system at all three TWU campuses.
“Libraries are becoming service centers for learning,” TWU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Robert Neely said. “Having someone of Suzanne Sears’ caliber in this position is key as the university finalizes its overall strategic plan. Our university’s mission focuses on support of the student, and the TWU libraries definitely play a significant role in this regard.”
Sears brings more than 30 years of experience leading innovative projects in large library settings. She comes to TWU following nine years at the University of North Texas, where she most recently served as associate dean for public services. She also was a member of the Dean’s Council for the UNT Libraries.
“Academic libraries are expanding beyond the traditional role of organizing and providing access to information,” Sears said. “They are becoming vibrant, collaborative partners meeting the needs of learning and academic research. This transformation is driven by technological changes as well as the evolving requirements of our users. TWU is currently expanding its library resources and applications, and I am excited to be a part of this change.”
Sears is a member of the American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries. She holds a master’s degree in library science from the University of Oklahoma and majored in computer science at the University of Tulsa — both degrees preparing her to better understand the technology and analytics now deployed in modern library systems.
TWU’s libraries system supports university students and researchers worldwide. The system also offers borrowing privileges to Denton and Dallas County residents. Online resources include the university’s open access repository, an institutional archive of scholarly publications, creative works and special collections, which has been accessed by users from across the United States and more than 98 foreign countries.
The TWU Blagg-Huey Library’s Gateway to Women’s History provides online access to primary source materials from the university’s Woman’s Collection, which has been accessed more than 38,000 times in the past year. This digital image collection includes materials from the official archives of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II. It also has more than 500 Denton County historical collections, with items dating back to the 1920s.
Additionally, TWU’s library in Denton houses a 78,000-item cookbook collection, considered one of the five largest culinary collections in the United States. It also holds the Clarabel Tanner Collection of Children’s Book Art, which contains 25 original works created for popular children’s books, many of which were illustrated by Caldecott Medal winners.
“The Blagg-Huey Library is a hidden treasure,” Sears said. “In addition to being the university’s center of academic engagement, it serves as an active museum, with collections that display the tenacity, strength, courage and creativity of women throughout the history of Texas. One of my goals is to further promote the collections housed here. I also want to increase access to our holdings to researchers both domestically and internationally.”
TWU’s libraries in Dallas and Houston provide nursing and health sciences support to students who study and collaborate in the renowned Southwestern Medical District in Dallas and the Texas Medical Center – the world’s largest health complex – in Houston.
Sears steps into the position formerly held by Sherilyn Bird, who retired in January. Bird is a past-president of the Texas Library Association. She was instrumental in launching TWU’s open access repository.
Texas Woman’s University (TWU) is the largest public university in the nation primarily for women and has an enrollment of approximately 15,000 students on campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston. Since its founding in 1901, TWU has produced more than 88,000 graduates in fields vital to the growth and quality of life in Texas and the nation, including nursing, health care, education and business.