New beginnings

Joe Mocnik brings experience and Wildcat passion as the new dean of K-State Libraries

Joe Mocnik, an experienced university librarian and administrator, has been named the new dean of K-State Libraries at Kansas State University. Dean Mocnik’s appointment, which began July 25, 2021, was made by K-State Provost and Executive Vice President Charles Taber following a national search.

Recently, we got in touch with Dean Mocnik to ask him questions regarding his vision for K-State Libraries and how philanthropy can help him accomplish these goals.

What does being dean of K-State Libraries mean to you?

“Being dean of K-State Libraries is a professional dream come true. There are many reasons why I am grateful for this opportunity, chief among them being K-State’s commitment to its vision and land-grant mission. As a first-generation college graduate, I closely identify with K-State’s commitment to improve the quality of life by providing affordable, accessible and high-quality education.” 

What do you hope to accomplish in this new role?

“I have six main goals I would like to accomplish as dean of K-State Libraries:

  1. Advance learning and scholarly experiences by further improving student success, enhancing faculty support, strengthening our collections and services, and further affirming our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
  2. Enhance student learning and success by encompassing a multitude of strategic activities that integrate our services with the ongoing efforts on campus.
  3. Bolster intentional and friendly library instruction, consultations and informational literacy efforts that have a direct impact on retention, progression and academic performance.
  4. Develop innovative library information literacy instruction that builds students’ confidence with the research process, develop even stronger collaboration with faculty to further the institutional research agendas and to maintain a competitive edge.
  5. Perhaps most importantly I want to ensure that the libraries’ staff needs are met. They have been through a lot over the past three-and-a-half years and my goal is to focus on their well-being and the need to bring staffing levels up to provide the services that are needed now and to build our capacity.
  6. Lastly, I want to be the driving force behind building world-class library services at K-State.”

What do you envision the future being for K-State Libraries?

We have a great momentum following an incredible renovation of Hale Library, and there is enthusiasm to build upon our services and programs with a facility that is second to none. I envision a vibrant, bustling facility with community programs and space that inspires and supports the desire for knowledge discovery. The Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab, for example, is already seeing great success and interest from faculty and students. My goal is to focus on nurturing and enhancing the libraries’ effort to democratize access to technology by integrating our services within the curriculum and partnering with others on campus.”

How can philanthropy help accomplish those goals?

“Much of the libraries’ value lies in the expertise and services our people provide. Things such as collection development, tailored research instruction for various disciplines, support for data management, enhanced discovery platforms for data, resources and research, training and support for students using the innovation lab, digitization and preservation of archival materials, and support for faculty during the entire scholarly communication lifecycle all require knowledgeable staff. Endowing a few positions would be transformative for the libraries’ ability to provide these services.

Furthermore, supporting K-State Libraries ensures resources, services, staffing and facilities meet and exceed the standards of excellence in support of the institutional goal to be a premier, student-centered, public research university serving communities at home and across the globe through our land-grant mission.”

To support K-State Libraries visit Kansas State University · GiveCampus.

By James Dalton Burton

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