OMAHA - After nine years at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), and a 20-year career in library administration, Steve Shorb is retiring from his role as Dean of the Criss Library at the end of 2014.
Effective Jan. 5, 2015, when the campus reopens from winter break, the Criss Library’s Associate Dean, Audrey DeFrank, will begin serving as Interim Dean.
Beginning his career at UNO in 2005, Shorb has overseen the largest transformation of the UNO library system since the Criss Library was built in the mid 1970s.
During his tenure, Shorb oversaw the complete renovation of the Criss Library, which included the 2006 Guinter Kahn addition, a Library Café, the Osborne Family exhibit gallery and dozens of new collaboration spaces used by students, faculty and staff.
Shorb also led the charge on the KANEKO-UNO Creative Library partnership, which created a shared space in the Old Market for students to research the process of creativity in all fields of study; acquisition of the U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel archives; the addition of a new multimedia center with video editing bays, audio recording studios and 3D printing capabilities; the first academic use of eBook readers; and the expansion of digital books and journals for use by library patrons.
“The philosophy of the Criss Library, from the time I started to now, has evolved into one of openness and an acceptance that we work in an ever changing information environment,” Shorb said. “Our internal processes, the physical changes to the building, and the overall staff culture, are entirely user-centered.”
The concept of openness translates to better access to information, including an expanded archive collection and improved interlibrary loan system where users receive digital scans that are sent directly to their desktops.
“We want people to be able to choose freely from all sources, rather than just settling for what’s convenient,” he said. “Just because we don’t physically have an item on the shelves doesn’t mean we can’t help you access it.”
In the role of Interim Dean, DeFrank, who has been at UNO since 2006, will serve a role she has held once before. For two years, between 2009 and 2011, DeFrank took over for Shorb while he assisted New York University to establish a new library in their Abu Dhabi location.
Shorb’s international experience has also included managing educational technology and library operations for the Higher Colleges of Technology for the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education.
Prior to coming to UNO, Shorb served as Associate Director of the University of Florida Libraries, worked as a reference librarian at Southwest Minnesota State University and had a 14-year career in computer systems marketing at IBM and Hewlett Packard.
DeFrank, prior to coming to UNO in 2006, served as Head of Access and Information Services at Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Al Harris Library.
Looking to the future, DeFrank explained there were ongoing projects, including the expansion of University Archives, as well as the expansion and relocation of the library’s multimedia center, that will continue to improve the experiences of Criss Library’s patrons.
“We want to continue to be a model for other libraries across the region,” she said. “The library is not just a place where you come to check out books, but a place where you come to engage with the rest of the world."
For more information, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at 402.554.2129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.