New dean of libraries says he’ll increase student resources to succeed



Dean of Libraries Bryn Geffert works in his office in Howe Library, Sept. 13. Even after entering the world of libraries, Geffert never saw himself as a library director.

Zoe Stern, Cynic News Reporter

UVM’s new dean of libraries discovered his love of books when he was a child, but he didn’t plan on being a librarian until college.

Dr. Bryn Geffert was appointed dean of libraries May 13 and before UVM, had only experienced smaller liberal arts colleges.

“All of my work has been at liberal arts colleges even at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,” Geffert said. “So suddenly being surrounded and serving disciplines such as engineering, environmental studies, agriculture, medicine [and] nursing, that’s all new.”

Geffert has worked as a library director at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, West Point in New York and Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Geffert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history and Russian at St. Olaf, earned a Master of Science degree in library and information science from the University of Illinois and Master of Arts and doctorate degrees in Russian and modern European history from the University of Minnesota.

“I remembered some of my happiest times in libraries so I decided to go to a graduate program in what’s called library science,” Geffert said. “ I quickly discovered that librarianship isn’t anything like I envisioned it, but it was actually more fun, more interesting and more challenging.”

Library science is a field of study that includes the management of books and the practices of library operation and administration.

Even after entering the world of libraries, he never saw himself as a library director.

“I had several jobs mainly as a reference instructional librarian, so I was one of those librarians that spend most of his time working with classes preparing them to do research,” Geffert said.

During his time at UVM, Geffert hopes to better engage the students.

“I’m really delighted to be at a public school, a school that understands itself as serving not only its own immediate campus but also a larger public good,” Geffert said. “That’s what libraries are about.”

Geffert said he also wants to make sure students have the necessary means to succeed after college.

He wants students to be able to know how to conduct good research and to know the difference between good research and bad research, he said.

He wants students to be able to know how to conduct good research and to know the difference between good research and bad research, he said.

“I want us to think about the library as kind of Grand Central for academic support,” Geffert said. “I want the library to be a place that when a student enters, they can see immediately the kinds of academic health that’s available to them.”

Libraries involve a large focus around educating students and Geffert wants to make sure students have all the means they can to succeed. 

“Libraries are increasingly hiring instructional people whose job it is to work with faculty to craft assignments to help students develop those skills to think about the curriculum in the major,” Geffert said. “How students will apply those skills throughout the major so thinking about the library’s role and instruction is a big part of my job.

“I have been very impressed by Dean Geffert since his arrival.  I really mean that

” Library Professional Angus Robertson said. “He’s a positive-minded, approachable individual, and has an almost old-fashioned sort of kindness/niceness to the way he projects himself.”